May 1, 2023

60: Ashley Brown – Lessons from Althea Gibson – Serving Yourself and Refusing to Be Forgotten

In this Episode

So often, women’s sports history is forgotten, lost, or, at best, diminished. It’s especially true for African American female athletes in sport.

Many are familiar with Jackie Robinson as the first black man to play Major League Baseball, but few know of the accomplishments of female tennis and golf legend, Althea Gibson.

Author, Ashley Brown, shines a light on Gibson’s history with her biography, “Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson.”

Brown is Assistant Professor and the Allan H. Selig Chair in the History of Sport and Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an expert on sport history, women’s history, and African American history.

Why Althea Gibson?

As Brown highlights, Gibson was a woman of many firsts. In her unprecedented athletic career, she was the first African American to win titles at the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

She went on, amazingly, to become the first African American to compete in the Ladies Profressional Golf Association. She had a success music career, and high political ambitions. She even graced the covers of Sports Illustrated and time.

Always an advocate for causes she believed in, Althea Gibson didn’t do anything half-heartedly, even in a time in society were there was little support for people of color. In fact, for as much fame as she had on the court, she also faced increased challenges as a woman of color in the late 50s and 60s.

Lessons from this legend bubble up in this enlightening conversation, including themes of:

  • Resilience and Perseverance
  • Not Letting Passion Go Cold
  • Continuous Pursuit of Excellence
  • Helping and Supporting Others in their Journeys
  • Being an Advocate for Causes You Believe In
  • Fighting for Social Justice Reform

Althea Gibson was a woman who refused to be forgotten and thanks to Ashley Brown’s comprehensive biography, she won’t be.

Purchase Serving Yourself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson

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