International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Politics
of Creative Survival

With the end of Reconstruction in 1877, African Americans found themselves in a vulnerable position. Southern states amended their constitutions to disfranchise Black voters and legislatures enacted discriminatory laws designed to segregate African Americans in most facets of life. Physical intimidation, including lynching, insured compliance and white domination. In the North, discrimination existed in deceptive, although hardly less hurtful, forms of racial exclusion. In response, African Americans devised creative strategies to resist and survive. Sheer survival depended on solidarity and the creation of Black institutions to service community needs. W.E.B. DuBois and Ida Wells-Barnett exemplified this strategy as they fought diligently for economic, political, educational, and social equality through a self-help organization they both helped establish, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During this period, African Americans created their own tennis clubs and organized their own tournaments. In 1898, the Rev. W.W. Walker of Philadelphia established the first interstate Black tournament among clubs located in the Northeast. Historically Black colleges and universities, like Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, formed the earliest faculty tennis clubs.

Queen Victoria grants a patent to Major Walter Clopton Wingfield for the game of Sphairistikè or Lawn Tennis...
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First tennis tournament in the United States is held in Nahant, Massachusetts.
United States National Lawn Tennis Association (now known as the USTA) is founded on May 12, 1881 in New York City.
The first U.S. National Lawn Tennis Championship is held at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. Richard Sears (pictured) wins the men’s singles title. Clarence Clark and Fred Taylor win the men’s doubles title.
Currrier & Ives Darktown Series
These deeply offensive prints, produced by Currier & Ives in 1885, graphically illustrate the racial stereotypes that whites of that era attributed to Black individuals engaging in sports...
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Early Courts (1885-1900)
At the close of the 19th Century, tennis appealed to Black professionals and businessmen for the same reasons that it appealed to whites—it was a fast paced, physically demanding form of recreation that required minimal investment in time, equipment and real estate...
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Chautauqua Tennis Club in Philadelphia is established in 1890, with other early Black clubs forming in subsequent years in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New York City...
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Rev. W.W. Walker (pictured) organizes the first inter-state tournament for Black players in Philadelphia. Thomas Jefferson of Lincoln University of Pennsylvania is the first champion.
The tournament returns to Philadelphia where Rev. Walker defeats Henry Freeman of Washington, D.C. for the championship.
Although the tournament is relocated to Washington, D.C., the Rev. Walker again emerges victorious, defeating Charles Cook of Howard University.
Mrs. Mary Ann “Mother” Seames of Chicago gives tennis lessons to young Black players...
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In inter-state play, the Crescent Club of Washington, D.C. battles the Monumental Club of Baltimore...
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By 1910, the Black press is regularly reporting on Black tennis club activities...
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Edgar Brown
Edgar Brown popularized the top spin and baseline game, thereby signaling the end of the prevailing “chop and net game.”...
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International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Politics
of Entrée

At the turn of the twentieth century, African Americans began the “Great Migration” and left their southern farms in search of economic opportunity in northern cities. This movement significantly transformed African American cultural life as Black writers, artists, and intellectuals expressed their identity through a renewed sense of racial consciousness and pride known as the Harlem Renaissance. The nation’s economic collapse during the Depression of the 1930s left many Blacks, once again, obliged to participate in creative survival. During this era, African Americans engaged in prolonged legislative and legal efforts to gain equal access in American life, especially public education, and voting. By 1938, Blacks initiated legal strategies in the courts to end racial segregation and introduced legislative policy in Congress for a federal anti-lynching law. Sport, including tennis, served as the athletic counterpart to the artistic expression found in the Harlem Renaissance and, in 1915, the Harlem Colonial Tennis Club was established. A year later, Black tennis organized nationally as the American Tennis Association (ATA) under the leadership of H. Stanton McCard. In 1921, African American tennis experienced another milestone when Black businessmen opened the Shady Rest Golf and Tennis Club in New Jersey. Shady Rest became the nation’s first Black owned and operated tennis club.

Chicago Prairie Tennis Club
Believing that “athletic competition and good sportsmanship are prerequisites for building good personalities and character,” Mrs. Maude Lawrence, Madelyn Baptist McCall, Ruth Shockey, and Mrs. Mary Ann “Mother” Seames form the Chicago Prairie Tennis Club.
Founding of the Colonial Tennis Club, later more famously known as the Cosmopolitan Club, in Harlem.
Members of the Association Tennis Club in Washington, D.C. and the Monumental Tennis Club of Baltimore conceive the idea of a national tennis organization of African Americans...
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The first ATA National Championships are held at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. Tally Holmes and Lucy Diggs Slowe are the first Singles Champions. Holmes and Sylvester Smith (pictured) capture the Doubles title. The New York Tennis Association of the ATA is founded...
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The 2nd ATA National Tournament is held at the Ideal Tennis Club of Harlem, New York. Jamaican May Rae wins the ATA National Women’s Singles Championship and Tally Holmes wins the Men’s Singles. Percy Richardson and D. Monroe capture the Men’s Doubles.
The 3rd ATA National Tournament is again at the Ideal Tennis Club of Harlem. Sylvester Smith (pictured second from right) of Washington, D.C. beats two-time national champion Tally Holmes (pictured fourth from right). May Rae (pictured third from right) retains her Women’s Singles title. Tally Holmes and Ted Thompson win the Men’s Doubles.
The 4th ATA National Championships are held for third year in a row at the Ideal Tennis Club. Jamaicans May Rae and B.M. Clark win the ATA National Women’s and Men’s Singles Championships respectively. Clark and Eugene Kinckle Jones (pictured) win the Men’s Doubles...
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“Mother” Seames and her husband purchase property on the South Side of Chicago and build 4 tennis courts—the first private grounds for a Black tennis club in the United States.
The 5th ATA National Championships are held at the Suburban Gardens Tennis Courts in Washington, D.C. Tally Holmes wins his 3rd Men's Singles title. Lucy Slowe of Baltimore wins the Women’s Singles. Ted Thompson and Tally Holmes regain their Men’s Doubles title. The women’s doubles and mixed doubles events are not played...
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Dwight Davis (pictured), the donor of the Davis Cup, serves as an umpire at the ATA national semi-finals event.
The 6th ATA National Championships are held at the Germantown Tennis Club and at the YWCA in Philadelphia. Edgar Brown of Indianapolis and Isadore Channels from Chicago win the Singles Championships. Tally Holmes and Ted Thompson win the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events are not played. The Springfield Tennis Club of Springfield, Massachusetts is founded (pictured). The New Jersey Tennis Association of the ATA is formed...
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The 7th ATA National Championships are held at the Prairie View Tennis Courts in Chicago. Edgar Brown defeats New Yorker Eyre Saitch 6-3, 6-2, 11-9. Isadore Channels faces Lottie Wade in the finals and is again victorious. John McGriff, Sr. and Ellwood Downing (pictured) win the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles events are not played...
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The 8th ATA National Championships return to Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. Tally Holmes (pictured with Sylvester Smith) wins his 4th National Singles Championship and Isadore Channels her third. In the Men’s Doubles, Tally Holmes and Ted Thompson defeat Eyre Saitch and Sylvester Smith. In the Women’s Doubles, it is an all-Chicago match-up with Channels and Emma Leonard of Chicago defeating Dorothy Radcliff and Mary Ann Seames...
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The 9th ATA National Championship are held at the Manual Training and Industrial School of the State of New Jersey in Bordentown. This is the first time the event is held at a Black school. Increased facilities and accommodations forever change the character of the event, allowing it to become a preeminent social event as well as an athletic competition...
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Lulu Ballard
Lulu Ballard was a gifted athlete who won four ATA Singles titles and was one of the dominant players of the 1920s. Eight years after she won her 3rd ATA Singles title, Ballard ended Ora Washington’s quest for eight consecutive championships when Washington succumbed to sunstroke.
Ora Washington
One of the most dominant performers in tennis history, Ora Washington won a total of 23 ATA National Championships: 8 singles, 12 doubles and 3 mixed doubles...
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The 10th ATA National Championships are held at the Sherman Park Tennis Courts in St. Louis, Missouri. Eyre Saitch wins the Men’s Singles final and Isadore Channels wins her 4th National Women’s Singles title. Eyre Saitch and Ted Thompson capture the Men’s Doubles title and Lulu Ballard and Ora Washington retain their Women’s Doubles title. E. Robinson and E. Cole win the Mixed Doubles. Maceo Hill (pictured) wins the Junior Singles title...
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11th ATA National Championships are held at Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia—the first ATA National Tournament held in the South...
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12th ATA National Championships return to Bordentown, New Jersey. Edgar Brown captures the Men’s title and Lulu Ballard repeats as the Women’s Champion. Eyre Saitch and Dr. Sylvester Smith win the Men’s Doubles. Ora Washington and Lulu Ballard successfully defend their Women’s Doubles title. Blanche Winston and W.A. Kean win the Mixed Doubles. Reginald Weir wins the Junior Championships...
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The 13th ATA National Championships are held again at Bordentown, New Jersey. Edgar Brown again wins the Men’s title and Ora Washington (pictured) wins her first singles title defeating Francis Gittens. Eyre Saitch and Sylvester Smith retain their Men’s Doubles title and Lulu Ballard and Washington repeat as Women’s Doubles Champions. Dr. O.B. Williams and Miss Anita Gant win the Mixed Doubles, while Nat Jackson wins the Junior title...
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Dr. Reginald Weir
Former tennis captain at CCNY (City College of New York), Reginald Weir won the ATA National Men’s Singles title from 1931-33 before leaving tennis to attend medical school. Following graduation, Dr. Weir promptly regained the men’s title in 1937 and captured his fifth singles title in 1942...
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Weir and Norman: The First Cracks in the Barrier
Reginald Weir, the tennis captain of CCNY (City College of New York), and Gerald Norman, Jr., high school champion, pay an entry fee to enter the 1929 USLTA Junior Indoor Championships in New York City at the 7th Regiment Armory. When they show up, they are denied spots in the draw...
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The 14th ATA National Championships are held at the Douglas Park Courts in Indianapolis. Douglas Turner is the Men’s Singles Champion and Ora Washington wins the Women’s Singles title. Anita Gant and Dr. O.B. Williams seize the Mixed Doubles trophy. Washington and Blanche Winston win the Women’s Doubles and John McGriff and Elwood Downing win the Men’s Doubles. Nathaniel Jackson (pictured) repeats as Junior Champion.
Williams Cup
The Williams Cup trophy is donated by the employees of Grand Central Station for a competition between collegiate players from the Colored Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association and the Southern Inter-Collegiate Athletic Association...
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The 15th ATA National Championships are held at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Flood lights allow night play for the first time. Reginald Weir of New York City triumphs in the Men’s Singles and Ora Washington wins her third Women’s Singles title. Nathaniel and Franklyn Jackson win the Men’s Doubles. Ora Washington and Blanche Winston are the winners of the Women’s Doubles. Anne Roberts and Ted Thompson capture the Mixed Doubles...
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The 16th ATA National Championships are held at Shady Rest Country Club in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Reginald Weir, on a changed line call involving what appears to be the championship point, goes on to win the Men’s Singles title. Ora Washington defeats Francis Gittens for the Women’s Singles title. Richard Hudlin (pictured) and Douglas Turner win the Men’s Doubles...
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The 17th ATA National Championships are held at Hampton Institute. Reginald Weir again faces Nat Jackson in the finals and wins decisively in straight sets. Ora Washington (pictured at right) wins her fifth consecutive Women’s Singles Championship. Nathaniel and Franklyn Jackson win the Men’s Doubles, and Ora Washington and Anita Grant win the Women’s Doubles title. Emma Leonard and Dr. Clarence O. Hilton capture the Mixed Doubles. Hubert Eaton wins the Junior Singles. Also, the Veterans’ Singles (for men) event is added to ATA National Championships with J.P. Wilkinson the first winner.
18th ATA National Championships are held at Lincoln University in Lincoln, Pennsylvania. Nathaniel Jackson (pictured) wins the Men’s Singles and Ora Washington repeats yet again for the Women’s Singles title. Washington and Lulu Ballard win the Women’s Doubles title. Nathaniel and Franklyn Jackson capture the Men’s Doubles Championship. Emma Leonard and Dr. C.O. Hilton repeat as Mixed Doubles Champions...
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The 19th ATA Nationals are held at West Virginia State College. Franklyn Jackson, brother of last year’s winner, takes the Men’s Singles title and Ora Washington triumphs for the 7th year in a row in Women’s Singles. The Men’s Doubles title is captured by the Jackson Brothers and the Women’s Doubles title is retained by Washington and Lulu Ballard. Ernest McCampbell win the Junior title and Mae Hamlin (pictured at right) wins the first Girl’s Championship. The Mixed Doubles event is suspended from the schedule...
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The 20th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Lloyd C. Scott of Prairie View, Texas wins the Men’s Singles and Lulu Ballard ends Ora Mae Washington’s streak to take the Women’s Singles title. Nathaniel and Franklyn Jackson retain their Men’s Doubles title for another year. Ora Mae Washington and Lulu Ballard successfully defend their Women’s Doubles title. For the second consecutive year, the Mixed Doubles event is suspended from the schedule...
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The 21st ATA National Championships return to Tuskegee Institute. After taking three years off to attend medical school, Dr. Reginald Weir returns to the Nationals and battled perennial runner-up Harmon Fitch to take his 4th Men’s Singles title. Ora Washington reclaims her Women’s Singles crown for the 8th time. James Stocks and Thomas Walker win the Men’s Doubles Championship. Women’s Doubles is won by E. Lilyan Spencer and Bertha Isaacs. Flora Lomax and W.H. Hall win the reinstalled Mixed Doubles title. Fred Johnson (pictured), the one-armed marvel, wins the Veteran’s Singles...
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The 22nd ATA National Championships return to Lincoln University. Franklyn Jackson win the Men’s Singles title and Flora Lomax take's the Women’s. Brothers Nathaniel and Franklyn Jackson regain their Men’s Doubles title, while sisters Margaret and Roumania (nicknamed “Pete and Repeat”) Peters win the Women’s Doubles. Lulu Ballard and Gerald Norman, Jr. win the Mixed Doubles title...
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International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Politics
of Reform

During this era, a series of Supreme Court decisions, World War II, and the Cold War resulted in the advent of the modern Civil Rights Movement. African Americans devised legal strategies that successfully challenged racial segregation in the courts and leveraged international tensions during World War II and its aftermath to achieve equality. In the late 1930s, Civil Rights organizations, especially the NAACP, launched a legal campaign to end segregation in public education that eventually resulted in the landmark 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education. After World War II, African American soldiers returned home in full anticipation of first-class citizenship but were denied equal access to American democracy. Racism threatened America’s moral leadership in the following Cold War years. Consequently, Civil Rights leaders pressured the government, especially the State Department, to ensure that African Americans received the same democratic freedoms promised American allies overseas. The tennis world reflected the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement when, in 1950, Althea Gibson became the first African American to participate in the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) national championship at Forest Hills, New York.

The 23rd ATA National Championships are held at Hampton Institute. Jimmie McDaniel (pictured) from Xavier University beats Dr. Reginald Weir for the Men’s Championship and Flora Lomax is victorious over Roumania Peters for the Women’s title. McDaniel and Richard Cohen triumph over the Jackson Brothers to win the Men’s Doubles title. Roumania and Margaret Peters retain the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles is won by Ora Washington and Dr. Sylvester Smith...
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The 24th ATA National Championships return to Wilberforce University. Jimmie McDaniel retains the Men’s title after a 5-set match against Richard Cohen of Denver. Agnes Lawson, who had spent the summer at Dr. Robert W. Johnson’s home in Lynchburg, Virginia perfecting her game, claims the Women’s title. Clifford Russell and Howard Minnis win the Men’s Doubles and Margaret and Roumania Peters win the Women’s Doubles. Flora Lomax and William Hall capture the Mixed Doubles. The ATA rules against the exclusion of white players by the New Jersey Tennis Association, and thus setting a precedent of ATA events being inclusive and open to any individual wanting to compete...
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Jimmie McDaniel
In 1940 Jimmie McDaniel, the ATA’s National Champion, plays Don Budge, the world’s premier player and recent Grand Slam winner, in an historic exhibition match at Harlem’s Cosmopolitan Club in front of a capacity crowd of 2,000 people...
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Celebrating its Silver Jubilee, the 25th ATA National Championships are held at Tuskegee Institute for the third time. Jimmie McDaniel wins his third singles title by beating Richard Cohen (both pictured). Flora Lomax regains her Women’s Singles title with a win over Kathryn Jones. Margaret and Roumania Peters win their 4th Women’s Doubles crown. McDaniel and Cohen team up to win the Men’s Doubles crown. Eoline Thornton and Harold Mitchell win the Mixed Doubles Championship...
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The 26th ATA National Championships are held at Lincoln University. Dr. Reginald Weir (pictured) wins his 5th Singles title by defeating Robert Ryland in a fiercely fought contest, 2-6, 7-5, 7-5, 7-5. The Women’s Singles is a repeat of the previous year with Flora Lomax again victorious over Kathryn Jones. Lomax and Lillian Van Buren take the Women’s Doubles and Howard Minnis and Clifford Russell (pictured) capture the Men’s Doubles. Kathryn Jones and William E. Jones win the Mixed Doubles...
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The ATA National Championships are cancelled due to WWII.
The 27th ATA National Championships are held at the Cosmopolitan Club in New York City. Lloyd Scott defeats Robert Ryland for the Men’s title and Roumania Peters captures her first Women’s Singles title. Margaret and Roumania Peters take the Women’s Doubles. Howard Minnis and Ronald Fieulleteau win the Men’s Doubles. Lillian Van Buren and Delbert Russell win the Mixed Doubles. Althea Gibson captures the ATA National Girls Championship.
Alice Marble and Mary Hardwick Exhibition Event
In a show of good will, touring professionals Alice Marble and Mary Hardwick play an exhibition match at the ATA National tournament at the Cosmopolitan Club. Then Miss Marble teams with Francis Gittens to defeat the team of Miss Hardwick and Mrs. Van Buren. In a historic mixed doubles match, Miss Marble and Robert Ryland defeat Miss Hardwick and Dr. Reginald Weir...
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Althea Gibson
Plucked from the streets of New York by her play street director in the early 1940s, a street wise and street tough Althea Gibson is turned over to Fred Johnson, the legendary one-armed professional at the Cosmopolitan Tennis Club, for tennis instruction. She is soon winning ATA Girls’ tournaments...
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The 28th ATA National Championships return to the Cosmopolitan Club. Lloyd Scott claims his second Men’s title and Kathryn J. Irvis wins the Women’s Singles Championship. Lloyd Scott and Louis Graves win the Men’s Doubles while Margaret and Roumania Peters repeat as Women’s Doubles winners. Delbert Russell and Lillian Van Buren defend their Mixed Doubles title, as does Althea Gibson in the Girls Singles title...
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Breaking the Race Barrier in the NCAA
Robert Ryland (pictured) and Delbert Russell (pictured with Lou Graves), both representing Wayne State University in Detroit, are the first two Black players to compete in the NCAA men’s tennis tournament. Ryland reaches the quarterfinals, losing to Frank Mehner of West Point. Russell goes out in the third round, falling to eventual champion Pancho Segura of Miami University...
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Lou Graves
Louis Graves (pictured) becomes one of the first Blacks to play at Forest Hills, when he wins the 3rd Naval District tennis championships played at the West Side Tennis Club...
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The 29th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. Jimmie McDaniel wins a five-set thriller against Lloyd Scott to take the Men’s Singles title. Roumania Peters (pictured) wins her second Women’s Singles title against 17-year-old Althea Gibson. McDaniel and James Stock defeat Lloyd Scott and Louis Graves for the Men’s Doubles title while Margaret and Roumania Peters (pictured) capture the Women’s Doubles. Ora Washington (pictured with the Peters sisters) and George Stewart (pictured with Norman Apple) take the Mixed Doubles title...
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The 30th ATA National Championships return to Tuskegee Institute. Panamanian George Stewart (pictured) wins the National Men’s Singles title handily, beating Lloyd Scott 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. Young Althea Gibson turns the tables on defending champion Roumania Peters and captures her first Women's Singles title. The Peters sisters (pictured) retain their Women’s Doubles title and John Chandler and Harold Mitchell capture the Men’s Doubles. Mixed Doubles is won by Ora Washington (pictured) and George Stewart. Jimmie McDaniel, the 1946 Men’s Singles Champion, does not defend because he is opposed to playing in the Deep South.
The 31st ATA National Championships are at South Carolina State University. George Stewart (pictured with Ora Washington) and Althea Gibson repeat as Singles Champions. Stewart and Hubert Eaton win the Men’s Doubles, while the Peters sisters add another Women’s Doubles title. Althea Gibson pairs with Dr. R. Walter Johnson (both pictured) to take the Mixed Doubles title.
Reginald Weir
Dr. Reginald Weir, a New York physician, becomes the first Black individual permitted to play in an USLTA national event, the U.S. National Indoor Championships held at the 7th Regiment Armory in New York City. He loses in the second round to the eventual champion, Bill Talbert.
Oscar Johnson
Oscar Johnson won the 1946-1948 Pacific Coast Junior Championship (California) in singles and doubles. By winning the 1948 National Junior Public Parks Championship at Los Angeles’ Griffith Park, he becomes the first Black man to win an USLTA-affiliated national event...
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The 32nd ATA Nationals are held at Wilberforce University. The Men’s Singles final is postponed indefinitely due to rain with Dr. Reginald Weir and Harold Mitchell tied at two sets all. The Men’s Doubles is also postponed, with George Stewart and Hubert Eaton winning at a later date. Althea Gibson wins her third Women’s Singles crown. Margaret and Roumania Peters capture the Women’s Doubles event. Althea Gibson and R. Walter Johnson successfully defend their Mixed Doubles title. The ATA is now composed of fifteen associations with 134 individual clubs.
Des Margetson
Des Margetson, a native New Yorker is a regular at the Cosmopolitan Club. In 1940 he was a ball boy for the Jimmie McDaniel and Don Budge exhibition match. By 1949 he had served in the military and studied engineering at New York University...
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The 33rd ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. Oscar Johnson (pictured) from Los Angeles defeats former champion George Stewart for the Men’s title. Althea Gibson takes her 4th Women’s Singles Championship title. She teams with Dr. R. Walter Johnson to capture the Mixed Doubles title. James Stocks teams with Oscar Johnson to win the Men’s Doubles.
Althea’s Journey to Forest Hills
In July, Alice Marble writes to the editors of American Lawn Tennis Magazine, publicly criticizing the hierarchy of the USLTA for denying Althea Gibson the opportunity to compete at the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hills...
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“If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it’s also time we acted a little more like gentlepeople and less like sanctimonious hypocrites. If there is anything left in the name of sportsmanship, it’s more than time to display what it means to us.”
— Alice Marble
American Lawn Tennis editorial, July 1950
The 34th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. George Stewart defeats Norman Appel (both pictured), the first white finalist to play in an ATA national championship final, in 33 minutes. Althea Gibson keeps her streak alive by winning her 5th Women’s Singles title. Brother and sister team Leo and Mary Fine win the Mixed Doubles. Margaret and Roumania Peters continue to dominated the Women’s Doubles event. Dr. Hubert Eaton and George Stewart capture the Men’s Doubles. High-schoolers Victor Miller and Roosevelt Megginson, players coached by Dr. Robert W. Johnson, become the first Black players to compete in the USLTA Interscholastic Championships in Charlottesville, Virginia...
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The 35th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. The Singles Championships is a repeat of the previous year with George Stewart defeating Norman Appel and Althea Gibson vanquishing Mary Etta Fine. The Peters sisters capture yet another Women’s Doubles title, as do Gibson and Dr. Johnson in Mixed Doubles. Jimmie McDaniel and Earthna Jacquet team up to win the Men's Doubles title. George Stewart and Reginald Weir are the first Black men to play in the USLTA National Championships at Forest Hills. Both lose in the first round, but the door was opened for those who followed.
George Stewart
Panamanian George Stewart captures seven ATA Men’s Singles Championship titles between 1947 and 1964. This left-handed artist with a racquet is known for his heavy top spin and formidable kick serve...
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The 36th ATA National Championships are held at Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. Once again George Stewart and Althea Gibson repeat as Singles Champions. Margaret and Roumania Peters continue their streak in the Women’s Doubles. Gibson and Dr. Johnson retain their Mixed Doubles title. The Men’s Doubles is called off because of rain. Lorraine Williams becomes the first Black woman to win an USLTA National Championship—the National Girls’ Singles...
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The 37th ATA National Championships return to Bethune Cookman College. Earthna Jacquet (pictured) defeats Robert Ryland in five, tough sets. Althea Gibson breezes to her 8th Singles title. Jacquet teams up with Wilbert (Bill) Davis (pictured with Ron Charity) to win the Men’s Doubles Championship. Ending a decade-long grip on the Women’s Doubles title by the Peters sisters, Evelyn George and Ivy C. Ransey capture their first title. Gibson and Dr. R. Walter Johnson successfully defend their Mixed Doubles Championship. 11-year-old Arthur Ashe is referred to Dr. Johnson by Ron Charity (pictured with Bill Davis) of Richmond, Virginia.
Young Arthur Ashe
11-year-old Arthur Ashe is referred to Dr. Johnson (pictured) by Ron Charity of Richmond, Virginia...
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The 38th ATA National Championships return to Wilberforce University. Robert Ryland defeats Howard Minnis for the Men’s title and Althea Gibson continues her reign on the Women's Singles by defeating Nana Davis Vaughn (pictured). Clyde Freeman and Harold Freeman capture the Men’s Doubles. Taking the Women’s Doubles title are Mary Etta Fine and Eva Fine Bracey. Gibson and Dr. Johnson again win the Mixed Doubles title...
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International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Politics
of Participation

This decade encompassed many of the people, movements, and events associated with the modern Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King initiated the successful tactic of non-violent, direct, participatory protest during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and this approach defined many of the era’s subsequent demonstrations for racial equality. In 1963, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom reflected the grassroots support for political and economic change. The following year, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. Under Fannie Lou Hamer’s guidance, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party emerged during “Freedom Summer” and helped guarantee ratification of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Despite these achievements, social unrest in cities such as the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles and New York City left many African Americans questioning the nation’s timetable for racial freedom and commitment to its democratic ideals. This period witnessed several achievements by Black tennis players. In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first African American to win the U.S. National Championship, now the US Open. Additional titles that same year at Wimbledon and the Australian Nationals secured her recognition as the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year. In men’s tennis, Bob Ryland broke the color barrier and became the first African American professional male tennis player.

The 39th ATA National Championships continue at Wilberforce University. Robert Ryland defeats Vernon Morgan, the New York State ATA Champion, to retain his Singles title. Althea Gibson wins her record 10th consecutive title by beating Nana Davis Vaughn. Angela Imala and Lorraine Williams win the Women’s Doubles, while Dr. Hubert Eaton and George Stewart capture the Men’s Doubles. Gwendolyn McEvans and Lt Col. W.A. Campbell win the Mixed Doubles. Marlene Everson (pictured) wins the Detroit News Novice Tournament, noteworthy because World Tennis Magazine places her picture in their publication.
Dr. Reginald Weir wins the USLTA National Senior Indoor Singles title. He will also capture this title in 1957 and 1959. Oscar Johnson (pictured) is presented with the Lt. Joseph R. Hunt Sportsmanship Award during the Los Angeles Metropolitan Championships.
Althea wins her first Grand Slam Event
Althea Gibson becomes the first Black person to win a Grand Slam event by winning the French National Women’s Singles Championships over Angela Mortimer. She teams with Angela Buxton to also win the Women’s Doubles titles...
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The 40th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. George Stewart defeats Vernon Morgan to add to his collection of titles. 17-year-old Gwen McEvans from Detroit wins both the Women’s Singles and Girl's Singles titles. Stewart and John Chandler team to win the Men’s Doubles. Mary Fine and Eva Bracey win the Women’s Doubles. Doria Harrison and Ernie Ingram capture the Mixed Doubles.
Althea Gibson Dominates
Althea Gibson defeats Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2 to win the Women’s Singles Championship at Wimbledon and then teamed with Hard to win the Doubles. She receives a hero’s ticker tape parade on her return to New York as well as the key to the city by Mayor Robert Wagner...
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Althea Gibson: From Forest Hills to World No.1
Althea Gibson wins the Women’s Singles at the U.S. National Championships at Forest Hills, beating Louise Brough in the finals...
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"Mr. Bubble" - Des Margetson
Engineer and tennis player Des Margetson introduces his concept for the tennis bubble, which allows for year-round play...
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The 41st ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. Wilbert (Bill) Davis (pictured) wins his first National Singles title and Mary Etta Fine breaks through to capture her first Women’s Singles title. Wilbur Jenkins and Tom Calhoun win the Men’s Doubles. Miss Fine and her sister, Eva Fine Bracey, capture the Women’s Doubles. Clyde Freeman pairs with Gwen McEvans (pictured) to capture the Mixed Doubles...
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Althea Defends at Wimbledon and Forest Hills
Althea Gibson defends her Women's Singles titles at the All England Club and Forest Hills. In the Wimbledon Ladies Singles, she defeats Angela Mortimer 8-6, 6-2, and at the U.S. National Championships she defeats Darlene Hard 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Also at Wimbledon she teams with Maria Bueno to win the Women's Doubles. For the 2nd consecutive year, Althea Gibson is named the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year. At the end of 1958, Althea announces her retirement from amateur tennis.
“In sports, you simply aren't considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best.”
— Althea Gibson
The 42nd ATA National Championships continue to be held at Wilberforce University. Bill Davis retains his title defeating Wilbur Jenkins of Jacksonville, Florida in five sets. Gwen McEvans wins her second Women’s Championship by beating Darnella Everson. Joseph Pierce and Shaw Emmons win the Men’s Doubles in a one set sudden death match due to onset of darkness. Marlene and Darnella Everson capture the Women’s Doubles.
Bob Ryland – The First Black Professional
Robert Ryland (pictured in advertisement) becomes the first African-American tennis player to turn professional when he joins Jack March’s professional tour which included Pancho Gonzalez, Lew Hoad, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Segura, Don Budge and others...
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The 43rd ATA National Championships return to Hampton Institute. 17-year-old Arthur Ashe beats 6-time champion George Stewart to capture the Men’s Singles Championship. Mimi Kanarek (pictured), a native of Nicaragua, defeats Darnella Everson for the Women’s Singles title. Men’s Doubles winners are Wilbur Jenkins and Tom Calhoun. Bessie Stockard and Carolyn Williams capture the Women’s Doubles. Elaine Bush and George Stewart win the Mixed Doubles. Arthur Ashe, Jr. captures the U.S. National Boy’s 18 Indoor Singles Championship title. Arthur Ashe and Bill Davis also compete in the main draw of the 1960 U.S. National Men's Singles Championship at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. Davis falls to Vic Seixas in the first round and Ashe loses in the second round to Eduardo Zuleta...
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The 44th ATA National Championships continue at Hampton Institute. Arthur Ashe defeats Wilbur Jenkins to retain the Men’s Singles crown, while 16-year-old Carolyn Williams (pictured) of Portsmouth, Virginia captures the Women’s title. Ashe and Ron Charity teamed to win the Men’s Doubles...
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Ashe and Dr. J
When Dr. Johnson received a recommendation from Ron Charity of Richmond for skinny 11-year-old Arthur Ashe, little did he realize that he was about to receive the answer to his dreams—a Black junior who could win the USLTA Interscholastic Championship...
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The 45th ATA National Championships return to Wilberforce University. Arthur Ashe gains his third consecutive Men’s Singles title by defeating Wilbur Jenkins in straight sets. Carolyn Liquori, a white player, captures the Women’s Singles title...
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The 46th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce University. Wilbert Davis captures the Men’s Singles title and Ginger Pfiefer wins the Women’s. Howard Minnis and William Monroe win the Men’s Doubles, while Pfiefer and Maimee Frye win the Women’s Doubles. Lucy McEvans and Charles Berry take the Mixed Doubles Championship. Arthur Ashe wins the USLTA U.S. National Hard Courts Championship.
Arthur Ashe and Davis Cup
Arthur Ashe becomes the first Black man named to the U.S. Davis Cup Team...
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The 47th ATA National Championships are held at Wilberforce for the third consecutive year. Veteran George Stewart wins the Men’s Singles and Bonnie Logan (pictured) wins her first Women’ Singles title. Luis Glass and Lendward Simpson (pictured) capture the Men’s Doubles Championship and Sylvia Hooks and Bonnie Logan win the Women’s Doubles title. Charles Berry and Bessie Stockard win the Mixed Doubles Championship. At age 15, Lendward Simpson (pictured) becomes the youngest Black male to play in the U.S. Nationals at Forest Hills. He falls to Arthur Ashe in the second round...
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The 48th ATA National Championships return to Wilberforce. Luis Glass (pictured) breaks through to win the Men’s Singles Championship. Bonnie Logan retains her Women’s Singles title. Glass and Lendward Simpson (pictured) successfully defend their Men’s Doubles title. Jean Richardson and Helen Watanabe win the Women’s Doubles. Sylvia Hooks and William Morton, Jr. are the new winners of the Mixed Doubles. Arthur Ashe captures the NCAA Singles Championship (UCLA) and the NCAA Doubles Championship with Ian Crookenden...
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International Tennis Hall of Fame
The Politics
of Liberation
Since 1965

By the mid-1960s, African Americans demonstrated a renewed commitment to self-definition and black identity in response to racial injustice. The Politics of Liberation favored race pride, black consciousness, cultural autonomy, and self-determination over the traditional policies associated with the Civil Rights Movement. Black Power challenged and usurped conventional approaches in the struggle for freedom. African Americans adopted a more confrontational style of protest, and sought coalitional support from the world’s developing nations, especially in Africa, engaged in their own wars for national liberation. Athletes such as Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos represented the “Revolt of the Black Athlete” when both pledged their support for the Olympic Committee for Human Rights and openly protested racial discrimination at the 1968 Games. In tennis, Arthur Ashe captured the 1968 US Open championship to become the first and only African American male to hold the title. His greatest victory, however, occurred off the court in his battle to defeat apartheid in South Africa. The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, dominated women’s professional tennis and won multiple singles and doubles Grand Slam titles and Olympic Gold Medals.

The 49th ATA National Championships return for the fifth consecutive year to Wilberforce. Wilbert Davis (pictured) takes back the Men’s Singles trophy, while Bonnie Logan wins her third Women’s Singles title in a row. Arthur Carrington and John Mudd win the Men’s Doubles Championship. The Women’s Doubles title is won by Logan and Bessie Stockard. Sylvia Hooks and William Morton, Jr. retain their Mixed Doubles Championship...
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The 50th ATA National Championships return to Wilberforce. Wilbert Davis (pictured with trophy) again wins the Men’s Singles Championship. For the 4th consecutive year, Bonnie Logan wins the Women’s Singles title. Arthur Carrington (pictured) and John Mudd repeat as Men’s Doubles Champions. Bessie Stockard and Sylvia Hooks team up to win the Women’s Doubles. Bonnie Logan and Lendward Simpson (pictured) capture the Mixed Doubles. Arthur Ashe (pictured with group at Wilberforce) wins the USLTA U.S. National Clay Courts Championship. Ashe and Charlie Pasarell win the USLTA U.S. National Indoor Doubles Championship.
The 51st ATA National Championships are held for the 7th consecutive year at Wilberforce. The Men’s Singles Champion is Robert Binns. Bonnie Logan (pictured) wins her 5th Women’s Singles title. Marty Gool and Gregory Morton capture the Men’s Doubles title, while Bessie Stockard and Anne Koger take the Women’s Doubles Championship. Logan and Lendward Simpson repeat as winners of the Mixed Doubles...
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King Arthur
Arthur Ashe wins U.S. National (Amateur) Championship at Longwood Cricket Club in Boston. Two weeks later at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, Ashe wins the first US Open Men’s Singles Championship becoming the first Black man to win a Grand Slam event...
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The 52nd ATA National Championships move to St. Louis, Missouri. Marty Gool capturea the Men’s Singles title and Bonnie Logan (pictured) keeps her streak alive by winning the Women’s Singles title for the 6th straight year. Gool and Gregory Morton win the Men’s Doubles. Ms. T. Reuter and Ms. S. Beauchamp capture the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles crown is retained by Logan and Lendward Simpson. Arthur Ashe cofounds the National Junior Tennis League (NJTL) along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder. The three founders envision the NJTL as a way to reach young people in inner cities and to use tennis as a platform to teach them important life lessons...
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The 53rd ATA Nationals returns to St. Louis. Gene Fluri captures the Men’s Singles title and Bonnie Logan wins her 7th consecutive Women’s Singles title. Gene and Tom Fluri team to win the Men’s Doubles Championship. Ms. T. Reuter and Ms. S. Beauchamp successfully defend their Women’s Doubles title. Logan and Lendward Simpson win their 4th consecutive Mixed Doubles Championship. Arthur Ashe wins the Australian Open Singles title. Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith win the U.S. National Indoor Doubles Championship. Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner win the U.S. National Clay Court Doubles title.
Juan Farrow
Juan Farrow wins the U.S. National Boy’s Singles Championship. Farrow partners with Chip Hooper and they capture the U.S. National Boys’ 12-and-under Doubles title...
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The 54th ATA National Championships are again held in St. Louis. John Wilkerson (pictured) captures the Men’s Singles, while Bessie Stockard breaks through to capture the Women’s Singles title. William Heinbecker and Jerry Johnson win the Men’s Doubles. Pamela Steinmetz and Bunny Wall seize the Women’s Doubles Championship. The Mixed Doubles is won by Beverly Hussell and Alberto Loney. Arthur Ashe and Marty Riessen win the French Open Doubles title. Horace Reid and partner Billy Martin win the U.S. National Boy’s 16-and-under Clay Court Doubles Championship.
Althea Gibson is elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (pictured with Jimmy Van Alen). Arthur Ashe and Charlie Pasarell discover a young tennis talent in the Cameroon, 11 year old Yannick Noah.
Whirlwind Johnson
Dr. Robert J. “Whirlwind” Johnson, ATA leader, mentor, and coach passes away at age 72...
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The 55th ATA Nationals move to Boston. Horace Reid triumphs to win the Men’s Singles title. Lorraine Bryant takes the Women’s Singles Championship. The Women’s Doubles is won by Elaine Busch and Brenda Johnson. Lee Stavins and Chris Scott capture the Mixed Doubles title. There is no Finals Match played for the Men’s Doubles. The finals match between Horace Reid and Art Carrington was the first time an ATA match was televised. Juan Farrow captures the U.S. National Boy’s 14-and-under Singles title. Diane Morrison wins the National Public Parks Girls 16-and-under Singles Championship and, with partner K. Nilsson, the Girls 16-and-under Doubles title...
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The 56th ATA National Championships return to Boston. Arthur Carrington captures the Men’s Singles Championship. The Women’s Singles title is won by Mimi Kanarek. Shri Anadon and Luis Glass are the Men’s Doubles winners. Jean Burnett and Arvelia Meyers (both pictured) win the Women’s Doubles Championship. Ann Koger and Tyrone Mapp take the Mixed Doubles title. Juan Farrow wins the U.S. National Boy’s Indoor Singles Championship...
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Ann Koger
In 1973, Ann Koger had good reason to be pleased and proud when she and Bonnie Logan, both Baltimore, Maryland natives, became the first Black women to play on the Virginia Slims pro tour...
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The 57th ATA National Championships move to Washington, D.C. The Men’s Singles Championship is won by Roger Guedes. Jean Burnett captures the Women’s Singles title. The Men’s Doubles title is won by Guedes and Bruce Foxworth. Bessie Stockard and Barbara Faulkner are the Women’s Doubles Champions. Anne Koger and Tyrone Mapp successfully defend their Mixed Doubles title. Stan Fracker from Texas Southern wins the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Singles title. Lendward Simpson becomes the first Black player in World TeamTennis when he signs with the Detroit Loves.
The 59th ATA Nationals are held in the sunshine of San Diego. Benny Sims (pictured) captures the Men’s Singles Championship. The Women’s Singles title goes to Diane Morrison. M. Andrews and Lawrence King team up to win the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles Championship is claimed by S. Dancy and Lisa Rapfogel. The Mixed Doubles title is captured by R. Harris and Dee Stewart. Benny Sims and Glenn Moolchan from Texas Southern win the NAIA Doubles title.
Arthur Ashe Wins Wimbledon
Arthur Ashe outfoxes the heavily-favored Jimmy Connors and wins the Men’s Singles title at Wimbledon...
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The 59th ATA National Championships move to New Orleans, Louisiana. Terrance Jackson wins the Men’s Singles Championship and Kim Sands (pictured) captures the Women’s Singles title. The Men’s Doubles Champions are Terrance Scott and Terrance Jackson. Margo Tiff and Brenda Richards win the Women’s Doubles. Marilyn Supeville and Jessie Holt, Jr. are the Mixed Doubles Champions. Bruce Foxworth (pictured left) and Roger Guedes (pictured right) from Hampton University win the NCAA Division II Men's Doubles Championship.
The 60th ATA National Championships return to New Orleans. Terrance Jackson successfully defends his Men’s Singles title. Leslie Allen (pictured) captures the Women’s Singles title and takes the Mixed Doubles with Maurice Hunter. Marell Harmon and Weldon Rogers triumph in the Men’s Doubles. Karen Harden and Brenda Richards win the Women’s Doubles Championship. Arthur Ashe and Tony Roche win the Australian Open Men's Doubles Championship. Black Tennis Magazine is founded by Marcus Freeman.
Zina Garrison wins the ATA National Girls 14 and Under Singles title. Juan Farrow wins the first of three NCAA Division II Singles titles (1977, 1978 and 1980). Chip Hooper and partner Mel Purcell capture the U.S. National Boy’s Clay Court Doubles. Andrea Whitmore wins the National Public Parks Mixed Doubles with partner K. Simpson. The Black Tennis Classic, the first of a series of pro tournaments under the banner of the ATA is won by Terence Jackson, with Arvelia Meyers winning the women’s title. Syd Llewellyn is the organizer.
The 61st ATA National Championships are staged in Princeton, New Jersey. Vanquishing the field, Rodney Harmon (pictured) claims the Men’s Singles title. Joann Jacobs is victorious in the Women’s Singles event. Brothers Rodney and Marell Harmon win the Men’s Doubles Championship. The Women’s Doubles title is won by Jean Burnett and Brenda Richards. Sallie Elam (pictured) and Jessie Holt, Jr. capture the Mixed Doubles...
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The 62nd ATA National Championships are held in Atlanta, Georgia. The Men’s Singles title is won by Warrick Jones. Victorious in the Women’s Singles is Zina Garrison. The Men’s Doubles team of Melvin McCurley and O. Ongunrinde emerge triumphant Carol Watson and Jean Burnett win the Women’s Doubles. Sallie Elam and Jessie Holt Jr. successfully defend their Mixed Doubles title. Stanford graduate and newly-turned professional, Diane Morrison (pictured) reaches the third round of the US Open. Leslie Allen competes in both the French Open (falling to Wendy Turnbull in the round of 16) and US Open (losing to Dianne Fromholz in the third round)...
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The 63rd ATA National Championships return to Atlanta. Kelvin Belcher takes home the Men’s Singles title. The Women’s Singles Championship is won by Zina Garrison (pictured). Michael Delane and Greg Williams capture the Men’s Doubles, while Garrison and Lori McNeil claim the Women’s Doubles. Sallie Elam and Jessie Holt, Jr. win the Mixed Doubles for the third consecutive year. Zina Garrison captures the U.S. National Girls 16 Singles Championship. Zina Garrison and Lori McNeil win the U.S. National Girls 18 Indoor Doubles, the U.S. National Girls 16 Hard Court Doubles, and the U.S. National Girls 18 Clay Court Doubles.
Rodney Harmon and Mel Purcell, playing for the University of Tennessee, win the NCAA Division I Men's Doubles title. Juan Farrow and Hugo Nunez win the NCAA Division II Men's Doubles title. Tony Mmoh and Bullus Hussaini capture the NAIA Men's Doubles Championship.
The 64th ATA National Championships are held in Detroit, Michigan. Kelvin Belcher repeats as Men’s Singles Champion. Lori McNeil emerges victorious in the Women’s Singles event. Belcher teams with Friday Octabar to win the Men’s Doubles title. Zina Garrison and McNeil again prove unbeatable in the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles are not played. MaliVai Washington and partner Al Parker win the U.S. National Boys 12 Doubles title...
Chip Hooper
Chip Hooper reaches the semi-finals of the U.S. National Indoor Championships before losing to Jimmy Connors, and is the first two-time All-American in singles in Arkansas University history (1980-1981)...
Zina Garrison wins the US Open Junior Girls Singles, the Wimbledon Junior Girls Singles, and the U.S. National Girls 18 Indoor Singles. Lori McNeil and Zina Garrison win the U.S. National Girls 18 Indoor Doubles and the U.S. National Girls 18 Hard Court Doubles. At the Avon Championships in Detroit, Leslie Allen beats Hana Mandlíková 6-4, 6-4 to become the first Black woman since Althea Gibson to win a significant professional tournament in the Open Era.
Leslie Allen
Leslie Allen became the first Black player since Althea Gibson to win a regular WTA Tour event in 1981...
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The 65th ATA National Championships are back in San Diego. Warrick Jones collects his second Men’s Singles Championship. Lucy Bacerra captures the Women’s Singles Championship. The Men’s Doubles title is won by Troy Collins and Angel Lopez. Kathy Foxworth and Lori McNeil team up to win the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles Championship is won by Katherine Willette and Angel Lopez. Rodney Harmon reaches the quarterfinals of the US Open. Chip Hooper loses to Jimmy Connors in the round of 16 at the French Open.
The 66th ATA National Championships return to Boston. The Men’s Singles title is claimed by Adrian Clark. The Women’s Singles title is won by Lisa DeAngeles. Godwin Emeh and M. Menezes capture the Men’s Doubles, while Joan Jackson and Renee Ralph are victorious in the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles Championship is won by Lisa Foxworth (pictured) and Harold Sanco. Leslie Allen, partnering with Charles Strode, reaches the finals of the French Open Mixed Doubles. Yannick Noah (pictured), the young tennis talent discovered and encouraged by Arthur Ashe and Charlie Pasarell as a child in 1971, wins the French Open Men's Singles Championship.
The 67th ATA National Championships return to Atlanta. Young Kwan battles to win the Men’s Singles crown. The Women’s Singles title belongs to Shandra Livingston. Kyle Anderson and Alex Diaz share the Men’s Doubles title, while Patricia Collins and Michelle Wreen capture the Women’s Doubles. Kathy Foxworth and Sidney Cooper win the Mixed Doubles. Camille Benjamin (pictured) reaches the semi-finals of the French Open. Two-time All-American (Stanford) Lloyd Bourne reaches the round of 16 at the Australian Open. Todd Nelson reaches the third round of the US Open Men's Singles Championship. Jerome and Kelly Jones win the NCAA Men's Doubles Championship for Pepperdine University.
The 68th ATA National Championships move to Washington, D.C. The Men’s Singles title is won by Phillip Williamson. Kyle Copeland triumphs in the Women’s Singles event. The Men’s Doubles title is won by the pairing of Franklin Hatchett and Mark Riley. Ronita Elder and Helyn Edwards team up to take the Women’s Doubles title. Kathy Foxworth and Paul Geiger capture the Mixed Doubles Championship. Arthur Ashe is elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (pictured with Ann Haydon-Jones, Fred Stolle, and Bill Talbert). Bryan Shelton (pictured) wins the U.S. Amateur Singles Championship. Althea Gibson and Sydney Llewellyn are the special guests of Marvin Dent at the 1985 African National Junior Tennis Championship in West Africa. Phil Williamson and Horace Reid are there to play an exhibition.
The 69th ATA National Championships are held in Chicago. Juan Farrow captures the Men’s Singles Championship. The Women’s Singles Championship is won by Melissa Brown. The team of Troy Collins and Franklin Hatchett win the Men’s Doubles. Ronita Elder and Helyn Edwards retain their Women’s Doubles title. Katrina Adams and Kim Williams seize the Mixed Doubles Championship. Lori McNeil and Zina Garrison (both pictured) make tennis history during the Eckerd Tennis Open when they become the first two Black players to meet in the championship match of a major professional tennis tournament. McNeil prevails 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.
The 70th ATA National Championships move to Oakland, California. Phillip Williamson captures the Men’s Singles Championship. Iwalani McCalla wins the Women’s Singles Championship. Kelvin Belcher and Bradley Davidson prove to be the winning combination in the Men’s Doubles event. Jill Brock and Norma Boucher team up to win the Women’s Doubles title. Rachel and Hillary Mack emerge victorious in the Mixed Doubles event. Phil Williamson, the number one player at Columbia University, turns professional and becomes the first ATA Champion in the Open Era to receive a wild card into the US Open qualifying rounds and then qualify for the Main Draw. He falls to John Fitzgerald in the first round.
The 71st ATA National Championships take place in Austin, Texas for the first time. The Men’s Singles Championship is won by Noel Rutherford. Iwalani McCalla seizes the Women’s Singles title for the second time. Datus Murray and Yakabu Sulieman win the Men’s Doubles crown. The Women’s Doubles Championship is won by Lisa Jones and Hareem Meghani. Rachelle and Hillary Mack repeat as Mixed Doubles Champions. Zina Garrison teams with Pam Shriver (both pictured) to win the Olympic gold medal in Seoul, South Korea for Women’s Doubles. Zina also takes Olympic bronze medal for Women's Singles. Lori McNeil (pictured), seeded second, wins the Virginia Slims of Newport Singles Championship by defeating Barbara Potter 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
The 72nd ATA National Championships return to New Orleans. The Men’s Singles Championship is won by Gerard Gbedey. Iwalani McCalla wins her third consecutive Women’s Singles title. Edward Cruzat and Scott Vowels capture the Men’s Doubles title. Helyn Edwards and Nicole Yardley are the new Women’s Doubles Champions. Kyra Johnson and Robert Robinson team up to win the Mixed Doubles. Malivai Washington receives a wildcard into the Main Draw at the US Open and reaches the second round. Paul Williamson and Todd Nelson reach the finals of the Boston Pro Championships. In the Men's Doubles event at the US Open, Phil Williamson partners with Nduka Odizor of Nigeria, and Todd partners with Paul Wekesa of Kenya. The teams fall in the first and second rounds respectively. Katrina Adams (pictured), Lori McNeil, and Zina Garrison represent the United States well in the four Grand Slam tournaments...
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The 73rd ATA National Championships return to New Orleans. Vincent Mackey wins the Men’s Singles and Erica Adams triumphs in the Women’s Singles. Mackey and Ronnie Holmes claim the Men’s Doubles. Lisa Jones and Hareem Meghani-Cosme win the Women’s Doubles. Hillary and Rachelle Mack regain their Mixed Doubles title. Todd Nelson (pictured second from right) and Bryan Shelton (pictured third from right) reached the finals of the 1990 Volvo Hall of Fame Men's Doubles Championships. They were defeated in straight sets by the Australian team of Darren Cahill and Mark Kratzmann.
Zina Garrison
Zina Garrison becomes the first Black woman since Althea Gibson in 1958 to reach the finals at Wimbledon. With wins over Monica Seles (ending her 36-match winning streak) and Stefanie Graf, she falls to eight-time winner Martina Navratilova in the Championship match...
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The 74th ATA National Championships are held in Washington, D.C. Phillip Williamson captures the Men’s Singles Championship. Iwalani McCalla adds to her totals by winning the Women’s Singles title. Ronnie Holmes and September Donovan combine to win the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles Championship is won by Aileen Smith-Ely and Eloise Woods. Helyn Edward and Daryl Whitley capture the Mixed Doubles title. Zina Garrison reaches the fourth round in Women's Singles at the Australian Open. At the French Open Women's Doubles event, Zina Garrison and Mary Joe Fernández reach the quarterfinals.
At the Wimbledon Championships in Women's Singles, Zina Garrison falls to eventual champion Stefanie Graf in the quarterfinals. Teaming up with Mary Joe Fernández in Women's Doubles, the fourth seeded team reaches the semifinals losing to Gigi Fernández and Jana Novotná. Zina Garrison reaches the fourth round in Women's Singles at the US Open. With Mary Joe Fernandez in Women's Doubles, the fourth seeded team reaches the semifinals. At the US Open Mixed Doubles event, Katrina Adams teams up with Shelby Cannon and they reach the quarterfinals.
Bryan Shelton
Bryan Shelton wins the Miller Lite Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, held in Newport, becoming the first African American man to win a professional singles title since Arthur Ashe in 1978...
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The 75th ATA National Championships move back to Boston. Steve Campbell claims the Men’s Singles title. Jeri Ingram emerges to secure the Women’s Singles title. Campbell and Mark Garwood team up to win the Men’s Doubles title. The Women’s Doubles title is won by Loretta Banks and Tanyo Manibo. The Mixed Doubles title is claimed by Yacqui Peete and Dargin Johnson. Lori McNeil and Bryan Shelton reach the finals of the French Open Mixed Doubles event. MaliVai Washington (pictured) reaches career high of No. 11 in the world. His sister, Mashona Washington, wins the USTA National Indoor 18s. Arthur Ashe reveals in April that he had contracted HIV-AIDS through a blood transfusion possibly related to open-heart surgery he had in 1983. Arthur Ashe is named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated magazine (pictured)...
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The 76th ATA National Championships are held in Richmond, Virginia. Steve Campbell retains the Men’s Singles title and Tonya Edwards wins the Women’s Singles Championship. The Men’s Doubles is won by Victor Collins and Terry Davis. The duo of Edwards and Stephanie Johnson captures the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles finals are not played. Sande French serves as the chair umpire for the US Open Women’s Singles final, becoming the first African American umpire, male or female, to work a championship match at a Grand Slam tournament...
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Arthur Ashe passes away at age 49 from AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6. Arthur Ashe is posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by the United States President Bill Clinton on June 20...
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The 77th ATA National Championships return to Richmond. The Men’s Singles Championship is won by Billy Ball. Erica Adams is victorious in the Women’s Singles event. Ball and Isaac Ravizee capture the Men’s Doubles, while Allison Kinsey and Tunecia Sheffield win the Women’s Doubles. The return of the Mixed Doubles sees Kathy Foxworth and Quincy Coxton claim the Championship. 14-year-old Venus Williams (pictured) turns pro on October 31, 1994, and makes her professional debut at the Bank of the West tournament in Oakland, California. Losing to eventual champion Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in the second round, this would be the only event she would play this year Lori McNeil and T.J. Middleton reach the finals of the Wimbledon Mixed Doubles...
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Lori McNeil
Lori McNeil takes out defending Wimbledon Ladies Singles Champion Stefanie Graf in the first round at the All England Club...
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The 78th ATA National Championships are held in Jackson, Mississippi. Vincent Mackey wins the Men’s Singles title and Jeri Ingram takes the Women’s Singles title. Suru Balogiun and Minor Graves win the Men’s Doubles. The Women’s Doubles Championship are claimed by Ronita Elder and Helyn Edwards. Dalene Speas and Phillip Williamson win the Mixed Doubles Championship. Steve Campbell and MaliVai Washington reach the finals of the Men's Doubles event at the Bogota Bancolombia Open. Rodney Harmon (pictured) is named head coach of the University of Miami men’s tennis team.
At Wimbledon, Chanda Rubin's (pictured) second round match against Patricia Hy-Boulais sets a record as the longest-ever women's singles match at Wimbledon. Lasting three hours and 45 minutes, this match duration record remains unbeaten. Venus Williams participates in three professional events as a wildcard. Serena Williams turns professional in October shortly after her 14th birthday. Using a wildcard to circumvent the WTA's age-eligibility rules, she makes her professional debut at the Bell Challenge in Quebec. She loses in the first round of qualifying to Annie Miller, winning just two games...
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The 79th ATA National Championships are staged in Memphis, Tennessee. Donovan September captures the Men’s Singles title and Jeri Ingram successfully defends her Women’s Singles title. The Men’s Doubles title is won by Trey Harris and Christian Hill. Shana Peete and Yacqui Peete win the Women’s Doubles Championship. The Mixed Doubles Champions are Veronica Pasley and Phillip Williamson. Chanda Rubin reaches a career high ranking of No. 6 in the world. With partner Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario, she wins the Australian Open Women's Doubles title (pictured). She also reaches the semifinals of the Australian Open Women’s Singles. Venus Williams participates in five events, while Serena Williams participates in none...
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MaliVai Washington
MaliVai Washington becomes the first Black man to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles finals since Arthur Ashe. Also, in the same year, Mal becomes the first African American named to the U.S. Olympic Tennis Team...
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The 80th ATA National Championships move to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Men’s Singles Champion is won by Phillip Williamson. Julie Stevens wins the Women’s Singles crown. The duo of Michael Tisdale and Glenn Williams win the Men’s Doubles Championship. Janelle Williams and Annelise Rose capture the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles champions are Dalene Speas and Phillip Williamson. Venus Williams (pictured), playing in her first US Open, becomes the first unseeded player of the Open Era to reach the finals, where she loses to Martina Hingis, 6-0, 6-4...
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The main stadium at the US Open, Arthur Ashe Stadium, is unveiled. It is the largest tennis stadium in the world with a capacity of 23, 771 (as of 2018). Wheaties honors Arthur Ashe as the first Black male tennis player to be featured on the iconic cereal box...
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The 81st ATA National Championships are held in Birmingham, Alabama. Mark Silva wins the Men’s Singles title and Victoria Hunt claims the Women’s title. Steve Campbell reaches the third round of the Australian Open.
The four Grand Slam Mixed Doubles events are claimed by the Williams Sisters. Venus Williams wins her first major title, when she and Justin Gimelstob win the Australian Open Mixed Doubles title. A few months later the team takes the French Open Mixed Doubles title, defeating younger sister Serena Williams and her partner Luis Lobo. Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi win both the Wimbledon and US Open Mixed Doubles titles. During the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles event, Venus Williams becomes the first woman to hit a 125 mph serve...
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The ATA National Championships are not held this year. Serena Williams wins the US Open Women’s Singles title—the first Grand Slam singles event won by a Black woman since Althea Gibson. Serena and Venus Williams (pictured) capture the French Open and US Open Women’s Doubles titles. Alexandra Stevenson (pictured) reaches the semifinals of Wimbledon, becoming the first woman qualifier to do so...
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Serena Williams
Serena Williams' first major singles win in the 1999 US Open signals the start of a storied career...
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At the 82nd ATA National Championships held in Birmingham, Alabama, Vincent Mackey captures the Men’s Singles title and Jewel Peterson wins the Women’s Singles title. K. Cable and O. Obi win the Men’s Doubles title while D. Collins and R. Goldthreate win the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles title goes to B. Johnson and P. Towmes. Venus Williams (pictured) wins both the Women’s Singles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Serena and Venus Williams capture the Wimbledon Doubles Championship (pictured) and the Olympic Women’s Doubles Gold Medal (pictured). Venus Williams is named Sportswoman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine. Venus Williams signs an endorsement contract with Reebok for $40 million, the largest ever for a female athlete...
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Venus Williams
Venus Williams wins her first major singles championship of her career at Wimbledon...
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At the 83rd ATA National Championships in New Orleans, Donovan September wins his second Men’s Singles title. Erica Adams captures her third Women’s Singles title. L. Monroe and L. Taylor, III win the Men’s Doubles title while K. Nabors and K. Nabors win the Women’s Doubles. The Mixed Doubles title goes to S. King and Y. Murry. Venus Williams successfully defends both her Wimbledon and US Open Singles titles. Serena and Venus win the Australian Open Women’s Doubles title...
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The Williams Sisters Go Prime Time
Due to the popularity of the Williams sisters, CBS moves the Women’s Finals of the US Open to prime time, making it the most watched major tournament match in US history...
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"Breakfast of Champions" honors Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson is honored by Wheaties, as she becomes the first Black woman tennis player to be featured on the iconic cereal box.
“In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties box. Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second.”
— Serena Williams in 2019
The 84th ATA National Championships held in College Park, Maryland. Steve Campbell wins the Men’s Singles and Stephanie Johnson seizes the Women’s title. Leonard Booker and D. Evan win the Men’s Doubles title while O. Redmon and R. Washington take the Women’s Doubles title. C. Dorsey and D. Royal win the Mixed Doubles title. Venus Williams becomes the first Black woman to reach No. 1 in the world (February 25, 2002) since the start of the WTA's rankings in 1975.
Serena Williams wins the women’s singles titles at the French Open, Wimbledon, and US to conclude one of the most spectacular years in the history of women’s tennis. Serena and Venus Williams win the Women’s Doubles Championship at Wimbledon, their 5th major doubles title. Serena and Venus finish the year as the world No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, respectively – the only siblings to have ever accomplished that feat...
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At the 86th ATA National Championships in College Park, Maryland, Steve Campbell captures his second consecutive, and 4th overall Men’s Singles title. Alana Devort becomes the new Women’s Singles Champion. M. Fluitt and D. Martin seize the Men’s Doubles title while S. Peete and S. Mith win the Women’s Doubles titles. Serena Williams becomes the first Black woman to win the Australian Open for her fourth consecutive major singles, making her the fifth woman to hold all four titles at one time. While not an official Grand Slam since the victories did not occur in a single calendar year, Serena playfully calls it her “Serena Slam”...
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Althea Gibson dies at the age of 76. Her life and career are encapsulated in obituaries in major newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, where this caricature by artist Ismael Roldan (American) was published. ITHF Museum Collection (2004.2.2)
At the 87th ATA National Championships in Houston, Texas, H’Cone Thompson wins the Men’s Singles title and Tayo Bailey wins the Women’s Singles title. X. Buunza Wabaya and K. Chiridza win the Men’s Doubles title while T. Harris and C. Turner seize the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles title goes to M. Alexander and G. Walters. Scoville Jenkins (pictured) becomes the first Black man since Arthur Ashe to win the USTA National Hardcourt title...
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At the 87th ATA National Championships in Daytona Beach, FL, Tayo Bailey and H’Cone Thompson each retain their Singles crowns. N. Hudson and T. Richardson win the Men’s Doubles title while Tayo Bailey and S. Johnson seize the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles title goes to D. and A. Mcllwain. Serena Williams beats Lindsay Davenport to capture the Australian Open Women’s Singles title. Venus Williams wins her third Wimbledon Singles Championship. Donald Young wins the Australian Open Boys Singles Championships. Gaël Monfils of France is the ATP Newcomer of the Year...
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The United States Postal Service releases a stamp honoring Arthur Ashe...
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Donald Young
In 2005, Donald Young, at the age of 16, becomes the first and youngest African-American player to end the year as the No. 1 junior in the world...
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At the 88th ATA National Championships in San Diego, Phillip Graham and Cameron Benjamin win the Men’s and Women’s Singles title respectively. James Blake wins 5 ATP titles and finishes the year ranked No. 4 in the world, the highest ranking by a Black man since Arthur Ashe in 1976. Shenay Perry (pictured) is the only American (out of 24 total participants) to reach the 4th round at Wimbledon in either the Gentleman's or Ladies' Singles events. Dale Caldwell is the first Black to be named President and CEO of an United States Tennis Association (USTA) section (Eastern)...
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James Blake
James Blake reaches a career-high of World No. 4 in 2006...
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The 89th ATA National Championships are held in New York, New York. Shadisha Robinson wins the Women’s Singles title while J. Neptune claims the Men’s Singles title. G. Henry and K. Myers win the Men’s Doubles title and J. Evans and B. Workench take the Mixed Doubles title. Serena Williams wins the Australian Open Women’s Singles in dramatic fashion, defeating Maria Sharapova. Venus Williams wins her fourth Wimbledon Women’s Singles title...
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Donald Young (pictured) wins the Wimbledon Boys’ Singles title. James Blake (pictured with team) is a vital team member of the victorious 2007 U.S. Davis Cup team. Althea Gibson is inducted into the US Open Court of Champions...
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At the 90th ATA National Championships in Miami, Kenneth Myers seizes the Men’s Single title and Rachel Rye Robinson wins the Women’s Singles title. Arsenio Culver and Julian Sullivan take the Men’s Doubles title while the Mixed Doubles title goes to Stephanie and Merritt Johnson. James Blake reaches the quarterfinals of the Australian Open Men’s Singles tournament (falling to Roger Federer). At the Beijing Olympic Games, he reaches the semifinals, eventually placing fourth. Thomas Blake (pictured), older brother of James, becomes the head coach of the World TeamTennis Washington Kastles...
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Venus Williams wins her fifth Wimbledon Women’s Singles title, defeating sister Serena. Together, the sisters win their third Wimbledon Women’s Doubles title. Serena Williams wins her third US Open Women’s Singles title. Venus and Serena Williams win their second Gold Medal in Women’s Doubles at the Beijing Olympic Games...
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Black Tennis Hall of Fame
The Black Tennis Hall of Fame (BTHOF) is established to honor the achievements of those individuals who achieved success in tennis and life in spite of the many barriers that they faced, as well as those who helped them achieve those successes...
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Joe Cadogan wins the Men’s Singles championship and Morocco Hitt seizes the Women’s Singles title at the 91st ATA National Championships in Miami. Arsenio Culver and Julian Sullivan retain their Men’s Doubles title while the Women’s Doubles title goes to T. and C. Turner. Serena Williams wins her fourth Australian Open Singles title, and together Venus and Serena Williams win their third Australian Open Women’s Doubles title. MaliVai Washington wins the ATP Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year award for the work done by his MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation...
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Serena Williams captures her third Wimbledon Singles title, defeating her sister Venus. The sisters win their fourth Wimbledon Women’s Doubles title. James Blake and Mardy Fish reach the semifinals of the Wimbledon Men’s Doubles. Arthur Ashe is posthumously inducted into the US Open Court of Champions...
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At the 92nd ATA National Championships in Atlanta, Julian Sullivan seizes the Men’s Singles title while Jocelyn Providence wins the Women’s Singles title. Providence also wins the Mixed Doubles title with her partner Arsenio Culver, while Culver and Sullivan win the Men’s Doubles title for the third year in a row. Monet Duncan and Nikki Goldthreate win the Women’s Doubles title. Jamaican-German player Dustin Brown (pictured) achieves highest career rank of number 99. Scoville Jenkins retires from professional tennis to coach at Kennesaw State University...
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Serena Williams earns her fifth Australian Open Singles Championship, and Venus and Serena Williams win their fourth Women’s Doubles Championship. Serena and Venus Williams win the French Open Women's Doubles title (pictured), earning a non-calendar year Grand Slam in Women's Doubles. They also achieve the No. 1 ranking in Women's Doubles for the first time. Serena Williams wins her fourth Wimbledon Single’s Championship without dropping a set...
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The 93rd ATA National Championships are held in Atlanta. Serena Williams misses the first half of 2011 with a pulmonary embolism. Venus Williams is diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease Dale Caldwell is named to the board of directors of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), making him the first Black person to have served as a USTA section president (Eastern) and board member...
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At the 94th ATA National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Vincenzo Ciccone takes the Men’s Single title while Christine Clermont seizes the Women’s Singles title. Tricia Bowman and Flona Francis win the Women’s Doubles title while the Mixed Doubles title goes to Elysia Ortiz and Jonathan Dingle. Cori “CoCo” Gauff wins the Girls 10 Singles title. Bryan Shelton is hired as the new head coach of the Florida Gators men’s tennis team at the University of Florida. Donald Young achieves career-high ranking of world number 38.
Serena Williams (pictured) wins her first Gold Medal in Women’s Singles at the London 2012 Games played at the All England Club. Venus and Serena Williams claim their third Gold Medal in Women’s Doubles. Serena Williams wins her fourth US Open title. Taylor Townsend (pictured) captures the Australian Open Girls Singles and Wimbledon Girls Doubles titles...
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The 95th ATA National Championships are played. James Blake reaches the Wimbledon Men’s Doubles quarterfinals with Austrian Jürgen Meltzer. Serena Williams wins her second French Open singles title and her fifth US Open singles title. Tornado Alicia Black reached the US Open Girl’s Singles Final. Canadian Françoise Abanda (pictured) achieves career high junior rank of No. 4...
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Sloane Stephens
Sloane Stephens reaches her first major semifinal at the Australian Open, defeating Serena Williams along the way. Sloane Stephens makes it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon for the first time...
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James Blake retires from tennis with a career-record of 366-256 in singles, 132-121 in doubles, 10 singles titles, and 7 doubles titles. On August 23, 2013, the United States Postal Service released the Althea Gibson commemorative stamp as part of their Black Heritage series...
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The 96th ATA National Championships are held. Tonitse Urhobo, Jr. takes the Men’s Singles title while Angela McGahee wins the Women’s Singles title. Dreshaun Jarman and John Wilson win the Men’s Doubles title and the Women’s Doubles title goes to Elle Abraham and Shayna Spooner. Cori “CoCo” Gauff wins the Girls 14 Singles title. Taylor Townsend reaches the third round of the French Open in Women's Singles. Madison Keys (pictured) wins her first WTA title at Eastbourne...
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Donald Young and Taylor Townsend reach the semifinals of the US Open Mixed Doubles. Serena Williams wins her sixth (and third straight) US Open Women's Singles title. Jamaican-German Dustin Brown (pictured) defeats world number one Rafael Nadal at the Halle Open...
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The 97th ATA National Championships are held in Fort Lauderdale. John McLean wins the Men’s Singles title while Angela McGahee retains her Women’s Singles crown. Harshana Godamanna and Aaron Goldsmith take the Men’s Doubles title while the Mixed Doubles title goes to Sylmarie Santini and Luis Rodriguez. Katrina Adams (pictured with Peachy Kellmeyer) is elected the first Black president and chairperson of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and becomes the senior administrator of the US Open—the largest grand slam tournament in the world. Sloane Stephens (pictured) wins her first WTA title at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., becoming the first Black woman to win that singles event. Madison Keys reached her first major semifinal Wimbledon and her first quarterfinal at the Australian Open...
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Serena Williams wins her sixth Australian Open Women’s Championship, her third French Open title, her sixth Wimbledon Singles title, and for the second time in her career (the “Serena Slam” 2002-2003), holds all four major titles at once. She comes two victories shy of winning the first “true” Grand Slam since Stefanie Graf in 1988, losing in the US Open Women's Singles semifinals to Roberta Vinci. Serena Williams becomes the first person since Stefanie Graf in 1990 to hold the No.1 rank for two consecutive years. Serena is named the 2015 Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated...
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ATA celebrates its 100th anniversary and the 98th ATA National Championships are held at Fort Lauderdale. Junior Ore from Miami, FL, takes the Men’s Singles title while Senaids Kambei wins the Women’s Singles title. Ransom Medina and Jonathan Sesson take the Men’s Doubles title while Amerald Able and Kayla Gammie win the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles title goes to Emerald Able and Nathaniel Pinkey. Brienne Minor (pictured) wins the NCAA’s Division I singles championship, becoming the first African American to win a NCAA singles championship since Arthur Ashe in 1965. Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime reaches career high ITF junior ranking of number two. Serena Williams successfully defends her Wimbledon title and equals Stefanie Graf's Open Era record of 22 major singles titles...
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Madison Keys
After going pro in 2009 at the age of 14, Madison Keys reaches her career-high rank of World Number 7 in 2016...
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The 99th ATA National Championships take place in Baltimore, Maryland. Mwendwa Mbithi seizes the Men’s Singles championship while Rasheeda McAdoo wins the Women’s Singles title. Cody Coins and Gio Plater take the Men’s Doubles title and Natalie Finch and Maya Smith win the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles title goes to Natalie Finch and Thomas Harris. Coco Guaff achieves rank of world number one junior. Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime captures his first Challenger singles title at the Open Sopra Steria de Lyon at the age of 16, becoming the seventh youngest player in history to do so. Whitney Osuigwe achieves career high ITF junior rank of number one.
Serena Williams defeats her sister Venus to win the Australian Open Women's Singles title. In April it is revealed that she was 8 weeks pregnant during the event. Williams and her husband Alexis Ohanian welcome their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. later in the year. At Wimbledon, Venus Williams is defeated in the Women's Singles finals by Garbiñe Muguruza. Sloane Stephens defeats close friend and rival Madison Keys to win her first US Open.
The 100th ATA National Championships take place in Orlando, Florida. Rodney Carey, from the Bahamas, wins the Men’s Singles title while Isabelle Porter seizes the Women’s Singles title. Jordan Harrell and James Jackson win the Men’s Doubles title and Aysha and Azaria Hayes take the Women’s Doubles title. The Mixed Doubles title Isabelle Porter and her partner Bjorn Munroe. Sloane Stephens achieves her highest rank of world number three before ending the year at world number six. Sachia Vickery achieves world rank of number 89 after upsetting world number 3 Garbiñe Muguruza at the BNP Paribas Open.
Madison Keys reaches the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. At the French Open, Sloane Stephens defeats Madison Keys in the Women's Singles semifinals and then falls in the finals to Simona Halep. Serena Williams reaches the finals of the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Championship, but falls to Angelique Kerber. Haitian-Japanese player Naomi Osaka (pictured) wins her first Grand Slam title at the US Open amidst a dramatic finals match between her and Serena Williams. Serena had an on-court dispute with the umpire due to what may have been unfair calls, and Osaka’s victory was booed and jeered by the audience...
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Bjorn Munroe, from the Bahamas, wins the Men’s Singles championship while Isabelle Porter retains her Women’s Singles title at the 101st ATA National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Porter and Munroe defend their Mixed Doubles title with their second victory. Amon and Robert Nzuki win the Men’s Doubles title and the Women’s Doubles title goes to Chacadyah and Rishona Lewis. Naomi Osaka (pictured) wins the Australian Open and seizes the world number one ranking. She is the first woman to win consecutive major singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015...
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Frances Tiafoe (pictured) reaches the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, his first time doing so in any Grand Slam event. Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime becomes the youngest semifinalist in the history of the Miami Open and achieves his career highest ranking to date (17) the same year. Whitney Osuigwe defeats Mari Osaka, Naomi Osaka’s sister, at the Miami Open...
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Coco Gauff (pictured) becomes the youngest player to reach the main draw at Wimbledon at the age of 15 and energizes the 2019 Wimbledon tournament as she defeats Venus Williams, Magdaléna Rybáriková, and Polona Hercog before falling to eventual champion Simona Halep. Coco’s four matches become the most-watched matches on ESPN when they air. Jamaican-German player Dustin Brown upset world number five Alexander Zverev, the second youngest player ranked in the world top ten, at the Stuttgart Open...
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Taylor Townsend wins her first victory against a top ten player by defeating world No. 4 Simona Halep at the US Open. Serena Williams is honored by Wheaties as the second Black woman player to be featured on their iconic cereal box.
Coco Gauff
15 year old tennis phenom Cori "Coco" Gauff defeats her idol Venus Williams in the first round at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships...
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Coco Guaff defeats Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open Women's Singles event (before falling in the fourth round to eventual champion Sofia Kenin), becoming the youngest player to defeat a top five player since 1991. Serena Williams and Madison Keys reach the third round. What would have been the 102nd ATA National Championships and 134th Wimbledon Championships, as well as most tournaments normally played from March through August, are cancelled due to the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic. Naomi Osaka refuses to play her semifinal at the Cincinnati Open to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, continuing the protests that had also begun in the NBA and NFL. After the Cincinnati Open postpone their semifinals for the same reason, Osaka agrees to play...
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Naomi Osaka (pictured), continues to bring awareness about racial and social injustice in the United States and overseas by wearing masks bearing the names of a victims of racial injustice, on her way to winning her second US Open Singles title. A record number (12) Black women represent the United States within the US Open singles event: Hailey Baptiste, Coco Gauff, Madison Keys, Robin Montgomery, Asia Muhammad, Whitney Osuigwe, Katrina Scott, Sloane Stephens, Taylor Townsend, Sachia Vickery, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams. Baptiste, Montgomery, and Scott were making their debuts in the main draw of a Grand Slam event. Serena Williams withdraws from the second round of the Women's Singles at the French Open—which is moved to later in the year after the US Open—due to an Achilles heel injury she suffered at the US Open Naomi Osaka is named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year along with LeBron James, Breanna Stewart, Patrick Manhomes, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff in honor of their athletic achievements and activism...
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1874
Black American History
History of Black Tennis
  • 1874-1910
  • 1910-1938
  • 1938-1955
  • 1955-1965
  • 1965-Present

Conclusion

The sport of tennis has made tremendous progress in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion since its beginnings as a formal game in 1874. Fortunately, the racial exclusion from tennis tournaments and country clubs has been eliminated. However, the sport still lacks widespread racial equity. Katrina Adams earned respect in 2015 as the first Black president of the USTA. The year 2020 has seen a major increase in global awareness of the unfair treatment of Black people in society, and the tennis world is more conscious than ever about the need to bring diversity and equity to the sport. The American Tennis Association (ATA), under the leadership of President Roxanne Aaron, has become an active and equal member of a group of the most powerful organizations in American tennis called Tennis Industry United. This marks the first time in history that the ATA has worked as full partners with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), Tennis Industry Association (TIA), United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). This new alliance has the potential to significantly increase the participation of Black recreational and professional players and the hiring of senior Black administrators.

Bibliography for Kids & Young Adults:
  • Aronson, Virginia. Venus and Serena Williams. 2001
  • Bankston, John. Venus Williams. 2003
  • Buckley, Jr., James. Who are Venus and Serena Williams? 2017
  • Cunningham, Kevin. Arthur Ashe: Athlete and activist. 2005
  • Davidson, Sue. Changing the Game: The stories of tennis champions Alice Marble and Althea Gibson. 1997
  • Dexter, Robin. Young Arthur Ashe: Brave champion. 1996
  • Edmonson, Jacqueline. Venus and Serena Williams: A biography. 2005
  • Lazo, Caroline. Arthur Ashe. 1999
  • Mantell, Paul. Arthur Ashe: Young tennis champion. 2006
  • Quackenbush, Robert. Arthur Ashe and his Match with History. 1994
  • Stauffacher, Sue. Nothing but Trouble: The story of Althea Gibson. 2011
  • Steins, Richard. Arthur Ashe: A biography. 2005
  • Wetzel, Dan. Epic Athletes: Serena Williams. 2019
  • Williams, Venus and Serena. Venus & Serena, Serving from the Hip. 2005
  • Wright, David K. Arthur Ashe: Breaking the color barrier in tennis. 1996
Bibliography for Adults:
  • Arsenault, Raymond. Arthur Ashe: A life. 2018.
  • Ashe, Arthur R. A Hard Road to Glory: A history of the African-American athlete vol. 1-3. 1988
  • Ashe, Arthur with Frank Deford. Arthur Ashe: Portrait in motion. 1993.
  • Bodo, Peter. Ashe vs Connors: Wimbledon 1975: Tennis that went beyond Centre Court. 2015
  • Djata, Sundiata. Blacks at the Net: Black achievement in the history of tennis, vol.1. 2006
  • Geoffreys, Clayton. Serena Williams: The inspiring story of one of tennis’ greatest legends. 2017
  • Gibson, Althea. I Always Wanted to be Somebody. 1958
  • Gray, Frances Clayton. Born to Win: The authorized biography of Althea Gibson. 2004
  • Hall, Eric Allen. Arthur Ashe: Tennis and justice in the civil rights era. 2014
  • Harris, Cecil. Charging the Net: A history of Blacks in tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams sisters. 2007
  • Harris, Cecil. Different Strokes: Serena, Venus, and the Unfinished Black Tennis Revolution. 2020
  • Lapchick, Richard E. Smashing Barriers: Race and sport in the new millennium. 2001
  • Miller, Carroll L.L. and Anne S. Pruitt-Logan. Faithful to the Task at Hand: The life of Lucy Diggs Slowe. 2012
  • Mouratoglou, Patrick. The Coach. 2017
  • Schoenfeld, Bruce. The Match: Althea Gibson & Angela Buxton. 2004
  • Smith, Doug. Whirlwind, the Godfather of Black Tennis: The life and times of Dr. Robert Walter Johnson. 2004
  • Towle, Mike. I Remember Arthur Ashe. 2001
  • Wertheim, L. Jon. Venus Envy. 2001
  • Williams, Richard. Black and White: The way I see it. 2014
  • Williams, Serena with Daniel Paisner. On the Line. 2009
  • Williams, Venus with Kelly E. Carter. Come to Win. 2010
  • Zimmerman, John G. Crossing the Line: Arthur Ashe at the 1968 US Open. 2018
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