Arthur Ashe

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Black History Month Spotlight

Brief Biography:

About a year after his mother's death, Arthur Ashe discovered the game of tennis, picking up a racket for the first time at the age of 7, at a park not far from his home. In his first tournament, Ashe reached the junior national championships. Driven to excel, he eventually moved to St. Louis to work closely with another coach, winning the junior national title in 1960 and again in 1961 Ranked the fifth best junior player in the country, Ashe accepted a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he graduated with a degree in business administration.

For Ashe pushed to create inner city tennis programs for youth and helped found the Association of Men's Tennis Professionals. Arthur Ashe became the first, and is still the only, African-American male player to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. He is also the first black American to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Always an activist, when Ashe learned that he had contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion, he turned his efforts to raising awareness of the disease, before finally succumbing to it on February 6, 1993.