In 1956, tennis player Althea Neale Gibson won the French Championships to become the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam Title. Born in Harlem, she grew up on a block designated as a police athletic league allowing the streets to be closed off for children to play organized sports. She became initially engrossed in basketball and boxing but her raw talent for tennis continuously pulled her back into the sport. She would go on to win a total of 11 Grand Slam titles including Wimbledon and the US Open, pushing her into the spotlight as one of the first American athletes to cross color lines.
Fast forward to earlier this year, Coco Gauff, at just 15 years old, became the youngest tennis player to qualify for Wimbledon.
Defeating Serena Williams, she went on to lose in the fourth round as the youngest player in the tournament’s history. Six months later, this October, she became the youngest player to earn the Women's Tennis Association Championship title at the Linz Open.
We celebrate the courage, tenacity and skill of women who train, persist and ultimately brake barriers. Alongside Gauff, this month we commend the skill of Gymnast Simone Biles who became the sport’s most decorated champion and Marathon Runner Brigid Kosgei who finished the Chicago marathon in record time.
We urge you to actively support organizations in your community providing access, opportunity and inspiration to young girls dreaming big. - Maureen Post
Photo Credit : Library of Congress