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Althea Gibson Google Logo Honors First African American Tennis Player To Win Grand Slam Titles
As the first black woman to win the French Open, US Open and Wimbledon, Gibson brought racial justice to tennis courts around the world.
Today’s animated Google logo is a tribute to tennis — and golf — legend Althea Gibson.
Marking what would have been the athlete’s 87th birthday, Gibson was the first African American player to compete and take home titles at the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Born on this date in 1927 in South Carolina, Gibson made great strides when she competed at the US National Championships in 1950. She crossed racial borders again the following year, as the first African American player to compete at Wimbledon.
By 1953, Gibson was ranked the No. 7 player in the US. In 1956, she won the French Open, and then took home the US Open title the following year. In 1958, Gibson won her second consecutive US Open title, as well as winning both the women’s singles and doubles tournament at Wimbledon.
Shaking hands with the Queen of England was a long way from being forced to sit in the colored section of the bus going into downtown Wilmington, North Carolina.
During her career, Gibson won eleven grand slam tournaments. Proving herself a world class athlete, Gibson also broke racial barriers in golf when she became the first African American to join the women’s professional golf tour.
Gibson has been recognized by a number of sports associations, and inducted into both the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Her Wimbledon trophies are on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
(Althea Gibson photo credit: Bet.com)