2/2 BHM Profile: Althea Gibson

Alex Swank, Social Media Manager

Althea Gibson (1927-2003)

Althea Gibson was an American tennis player and also a professional golfer. She won her first tennis tournament in 1942. The tournament was sponsored by the American Tennis Association(ATA), founded by African American players. Gibson, in 1947, earned the ATA women’s singles championship, and she held onto it for 10 consecutive years. She continued to compete in tennis tournaments around the country while attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. In 1950, she became the first black tennis player to enter the national grass-court championship tournament in New York. The year after, she was the first black player to enter and be invited to the Wimbledon tournament. In 1957, she was nominated Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press, becoming the first-ever African American to receive the title. She began playing professionally and 964, and she was the first African American member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Gibson was also active in sports administration from 1973-1992. In 1971, she was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.