Althea Gibson Essay Research Paper As we

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Althea Gibson Essay, Research Paper As we look at our past, we are better able to see the positive advances that we have made. One of the greatest obsticles that we have overcome is the barrier of race. Over the last several decades African Americans have had a huge impact on many areas of society such as politics, educatoin and most definately athletics. On August 27, 1927, Althea Gibson was born. She did not enter the world to a life of glamor. From the beginning, her life was a tough one. Her family resided in Harlem during the 1930?s and 40;s. Times were very difficult for the young girl. Her family was on welfare and she, herself was a client of the society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Because of home life traumas, Althea frequently skipped school. The

times that she did go, she struggled though the day. While she was growing up, she also ran away from home numerous times. As any young child would do, Althea searched for an outlet from the everyday hardships of school and home life. This is where she discovered tennis. It all began at local recreation programs where she took up table tennis, or ping pong. Althea had talent right from the beginning. She realized that she, a girl who?s life had been nothing but rough roads and abrupt turns, could be good at something. As she continued to gain interest as well as perfect her table tennis skills, Althea began to compete, and win several local tournaments. Because of these victories,Althea began to get noticed. One man, a musician by the name of Buddy Walker, saw Althea play one day

and had a revolation. He figured that if Althea was so good at table tennis, then she would excel in regular tennis as well. At the time, no one realized just how beneficial this idea would be for the young Harlem girl, Althea Gibson. Through donations raised to pay for her membership and lessons, Althea became a member of an African American club called the Harlem Cosmopolitian Tennis Club. It was here that she aquired the skills needed to compete in tennis matches at a higher, more competative level. At the time that Althea was emerging as a recognized tennis player, African American?s opportunities were somewhat limitied. One organization called the American Tennis Association provided tounament opportunities for African American tennis players. In 1942, Althea Gibson had her

first landmark victory when she won first place in womens singlesevent at the American Tennis Assosiation?s New York State tournament. Her succes continued to move in a positive direction over the next few years. Althea went on to win these state tounaments in 1944 and 1945. After her victories in New York, she was offered the opportunity of her lifetime. A well-off man from South Carolina had been following Althea and was extremely impressed by what he had seen. He extended her an invitation to live in his home, attend high school, and of course, study tennis. Althea attended Florida A&M University in 1950. During this time, Althea competed frequently in tennis tournaments. For ten years consecutively, she won the ATA (American Tennis Association) womens singles title

(1947-1956). Also while at Florida A&M, she entered tounaments other than the ATA. Among these was the National Grass Court Championship where she was the first African American player, male or fermale, to be allowed to enter this competition. In 1951, she became the first Africam American to be invited to participate in the Wimbleton, an all-England tournament. This was a giant step not only for Althea herself, but for All African American athletes. In 1956, Althea won the French Open, another highly prestigious tennis tounament. This year was extremely big for Althea because she was allowed to participate in a world wide tour where she was a member of the national tennis team. As time went on, Althea began to emerge as one of the greatest tennis players in the wolrd. She