Althea Gibson (1927 – 2003) was an American tennis player and professional golfer. She became the first black athlete to break through the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first person of color to win a Gram Slam title. The following year, she won both Wimbledon and the US Nationals, and won both again the following year. In all, she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments, including six doubles titles, In the early 1960s she also became the first black player to compete on the women’s professional golf tour.
At a time when racism and prejudice were widespread in sports and in society, Gibson was often compared to Jackie Robinson. It was enormously difficult to play in professional sports if you were black, let alone a woman, but she she made history by competing not only in tennis but in the golf circuit as well.”I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps,” wrote Venus Williams. “Her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on.”