(WOMENSENEWS)–1957. Althea Gibson wins the Wimbledon singles tennis title, the first African American to do so.
Gibson’s spectacular career included a doubles victory at the same Wimbledon and victory in singles and doubles there in 1958. She also won the U.S. Open singles in 1957 and 1958.
She was the first black player allowed in the U.S. Lawn Tennis Association tournaments. In a 20-year career, Gibson won almost 100 professional titles, including five Grand Slams. She then took up golf and excelled. She was the first African American woman to play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
Her skills as an athlete and competitor opened doors that Venus and Serena Williams have walked through with ease.
Fifty-one years after Gibson’s debut in professional tennis, she is being honored this month with a Wheaties box in the athlete’s series.