APPRECIATION: Althea Gibson, to Serve with Love

By Garrison, Zina | The Crisis, November/December 2003 | Go to article overview

APPRECIATION: Althea Gibson, to Serve with Love


Garrison, Zina, The Crisis


Whenever I saw Althea. she always asked me if I was practicing my serve. It was one of those dreaded questions, like your grandmother asking you if you'd been eating your vegetables. You knew you should be doing it, you knew they asked only because they cared and you knew that you wouldn't hear the end of it if the answer was "no." I now understand what she was asking me. And my answer is a resounding, "yes."

For so long, I had the expectation of being the next Althea resting on my shoulders. I thought that expectation was to win titles and Grand Slam tournaments, as she did. Althea, a native of Silver, S.C., in 1950, was the first African American to compete in the national tennis championship, now the U.S. Open. A year later, she integrated Wimbledon and went on to become the first African American to win the French Open in 1956 and back-to-back U.S. Open and Wimbledon titles in 1957 and 1958. Eventually, Althea won a total of 11 Grand Slam titles. After retiring in 1958, she took up golf, becoming the first African American on the LPGA tour in 1962.

But I've realized over the years that the expectation was not to collect titles, but to fill her role as a trailblazer - as a woman in an industry that's dominated by men, as a woman of color in a sport that was predominantly White and most importantly, as a woman who keeps the dream of true parity alive.

Althea Gibson died Sept. 28 of respiratory failure in East Orange, N.J. She was 76.

I had visited her only days before, on Sept. 9. By having the good fortune of being able to stand on her strong, powerful, proud, vain shoulders, I've learned to understand pain and joy, the importance of passing the torch, the immensity of the doors she broke down for me - for female athletes, for women of color and for women, period. It's on those shoulders that the Williams sisters and I now stand, holding the doors open and pushing them to new limits.

And it's on those shoulders that I practice my serve daily - my service to the tennis community, my service to the Black community, my service to the world community. So thanks for asking, Althea; my serve is getting better.

- Zina Garrison is the second Black woman to reach the Wimbledon finals and founder of The Zina Garrison All Court Tennis Foundation in Houston.

Frank E. Beiden, 90, one of two accredited Black war correspondents during World War II, died Aug. 28 in Pittsburgh. Bolden was a reporter for the Pittsburgh Courier, a Black newspaper.

John M. Burgess, 94, the first Black to head a U.S. diocese, died Aug. 24 in Vineyard Haven, Mass. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

APPRECIATION: Althea Gibson, to Serve with Love
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.