Monday, September 15, 2008

Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson by Frances Clayton Gray and Yanick Rice Lamb

As I research and write my book on biography, I continue to find great stories that I did not know. Here is a draft of an entry for a book about tennis star Althea Gibson. Your library should get this book if it does not own it.

Gray, Frances Clayton, and Lamb, Yanick Rice.

Born to Win: The Authorized Biography of Althea Gibson. John Wiley & Sons, 2004. 244p. ISBN 0471471658.

At five feet eleven inches tall, tennis player Althea Gibson (1927-2003), a sharecropper's daughter, was a dominant presence on the tennis court. Between 1942 and 1949, she excelled in the all black American Tennis Association, but she was ineligible to play in the all white United States Lawn Tennis Association. In 1950, Gibson applied to play in the U.S. Open and would have been denied had revered champion Alice Marble not written a public letter calling for Gibson to get her chance. Authors Frances Clayton Gray and Yanick Rice Lamb report that Gibson lost her first USLTA match but came back to eventually win championships at the U.S. Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. The authors chronicle the life of an amazing athlete who also played basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters and became a professional golfer.

Subjects: African Americans; Gibson, Althea; Teen Reads; Tennis Players; Women.

Now try: Gibson won several doubles championships at Wimbledon. In one of those matches she was paired with a Jewish partner, Angela Buxton. Bruce Schoenfeld reports how the two shunned players became good friends in The Match: Althea Gibson and Angel Buxton: How Two Outsiders - One Black, the Other Jewish - Forged a Friendship and Made Sports History. Gibson’s presence in professional tennis paved the way for Arthur Ashe, who recounted his career in Days of Grace: A Memoir. After tennis, Gibson joined the ladies golf tour. David L. Hudson, Jr. recounts the history of the ladies tour and profiles some key players in his Women in Golf: The Players, the History, and the Future of the Sport.

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