As we celebrate Women’s History Month, it’s worth reminding ourselves of the very bold Althea Gibson. The right-handed tennis star, who was born on August 25th, 1927, overcame prejudice and literally paved the way for African-American players like Arthur Ashe and the Williams’ sisters. Against all the odds, at a time when tennis was totally a “white sport,” she committed to following her passion as an athlete and to become “reasonably successful and live a normal life with all the conveniences to make it so” as she once put it.
Gibson’s passion developed when a friend of hers, a musician, gave her a tennis racket. Gibson like many adolescents hated school, but she quickly fell in love with tennis. At the age of 19, she caught the eye of Hubert Eaton and Robert W. Johnson; two doctors, offered Gibson great support through tennis and academic guidance. Under their mentorship, she returned to high school and graduated in Wilmington, N.C. Class of 1949.
“No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you… Most of us who aspire to be tops in our fields don’t really consider the amount of work required to stay tops.” – Althea Gibson
The universe conspired to help Althea Gibson achieve greatness on the court, simply because she exhibited gratitude. Indeed, saying “why not?” to obstacles, “no” to complacency and fighting to remain at the top is ultimately what separates legends from quitters or people who only temporarily get a chance at success. Althea Gibson paid the price to engrave her name in history. She died at the age of 76 in September 2003, but she will be remembered forever.
Angela Asante is a contributor at www.WorkingMomIn20s.com and Bold.Global with a particular focus on motivational messages and job tips articles. Her passion for soccer pushed her to build a career in sports journalism years ago. She works at LiveSoccerTV.com as the Digital Content & Social Media Manager and is affiliated to CBC/Radio-Canada as well.
Angela also contributes to the BBC World Service's Afrique branch as a freelance correspondent when she is in Ghana, her home country. Having spent her childhood in France, she speaks native French and has a lot of love for French culture.
Aside work, Angela spends most of her time studying journalism and photography, reading motivational messages and psychology articles, learning about Ancient African history and cosmology, connecting with her family and friends, listening to music and watching classic French movies. Angela also loves humor, good food and traveling.