Today in History: Althea Gibson becomes First African-American on U.S. Tennis Tour


Althea Gibson

On this day in 1950, officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA), accepted Althea Gibson into their annual championship at Forest Hills, New York, making her the first African American player to compete in a U.S. national tennis competition.

Growing up in Harlem, the young Gibson was a natural athlete.

She started playing tennis at the age of 14 and the very next year, won her first tournament – the New York State girls’ championship, sponsored by the American Tennis Association (ATA).

This was organized in 1916, by black players as an alternative to the exclusively white USLTA.

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