Yasss Google! you’ve done it again! The internet giant honored Althea Gibson today with the above doodle that’s pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve seen since Blue Ivy dancing to her momma’s feminist rant, “Flawless.” Speaking of flawless, seriously, look at it! She moves!
Althea Gibson is absolutely amazing. She’s the first African-American to win the U.S. Nationals and Wimbledon (she was also the first Black person to even compete at Wimbledon) tennis championships! Gibson is also the first Black person to be named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1957 when she was 30-years-0ld and won again the next year. As if that wasn’t enough, Gibson was also a superstar professional golfer. This woman is the definition of a barrier breaker!
She was a marvel to gawk at. What I love most about Gibson is that she was unconventional in every way possible. Black? Check. Woman? Check? Tennis player? Check. A physical powerhouse? Check. Check. Check. Gibson was solid, weighing in at 144 lbs and standing tall at 5 ft 10 1/2 inches! As a woman with a 6-ft frame, I look to Gibson’s stature as something to be proud of, so it helps me accept myself a bit easier.
Let’s just go through a list of Althea Gibson’s awesomeness:
- She’s the first Black person to ever be selected to compete in the United States National Championships (now the U.S. Open)
- She’s won 11 Grand Slam tournaments
- She’s won 6 doubles titles
- She’s won 56 national and international singles and doubles titles
- She’s the first Black player and winner in Wimbledon
- She’s the first Black person to be named the Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year
- She’s been inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame & the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame
- She’s the first Black woman to compete on the women’s professional gold tour
- She’s the first Black woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour
- She released an album, “Althea Gibson Sings” and performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show”
- She’s the first woman to receive the Theodore Roosevelt Awards, the highest honor from the National Collegiate Athletic Association
- She’s one of Sports Illustrated for Women “100 Greatest Female Athletes”
- She’s got a postage stamp honoring her in the Black heritage series
- She’s been inducted in the US Open Court of Champions
Incredible, right? I love Althea Gibson and I’m glad to see that Google will help the world to love her too!
Check Out This Gallery Of Black Women Firsts!
Black Women Firsts
1. Vanessa Williams
She became the first Black woman to be crowned Miss America in 1983 (then had to give the title up due to some steamy pictures of her that surfaced).
2. Halle Berry
In 2002, she became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.
3. Toni Morrison
She became the first Black woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
4. Vonetta Flowers
In 2002 the first Black woman won a gold medal in the winter Olympics.
5. Tyra Banks
In 1997 she became the first Black model to appear on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition'
6. Condoleeza Rice
She became the first Black female appointed Secretary Of State in 2005 after becoming first Black woman to serve as the National Security adviser.
7. Beverly Johnson
The first Black supermodel was the first to Black woman the grace the covers of 'Elle' and American 'Vogue' magazines in the 1970s.