The Mission

Arthur Ashe  An American Pioneer

Arthur Ashe Biography. Arthur Ashe was both a tennis star of the 1960s and ’70s and an African-American pioneer: the first black man to win at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. Arthur Ashe played tennis at UCLA and was national collegiate champion in 1965.

When we talk about pioneers Arthur Ashe show be on the list. Growing up as a kid I would watch this thin, black rimmed glasses guy with an afro just dominate people on the tennis court. I would question his dialog, the way he carried himself and really how he looked. He did not talk like he was this strong black man I was raised to look up to. Over the years even though I would check out his matches I still had questions about his lifestyle. In all reality I thought he was gay. One day I was watching a talk show and I was blown away about how much he knew about the black struggle, in life, politics and sports. I was blown away to find out he was a loving father with a beautiful wife. A civil rights pioneer and a man of few words but a lot of action. I’m not going to go into his long list of his accomplishments but I will tell you this he’s on my very short list of men and women whom I admire, look up to and honor.

Timeline: In January 1970, Ashe won his second Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open.

On July 5, 1975 in the first all-American Wimbledon final since 1947, Ashe, seeded sixth and just a few days short of his 32nd birthday, won Wimbledon at his ninth attempt, defeating the strong favorite and defending champion, Jimmy Connors. Ashe had never beaten Connors in any of their previous encounters and Connors had not dropped a set in any of the six earlier rounds, but Ashe played an almost perfect game of tactical tennis to win in four sets. He is one of only two men of black African ancestry to win any Grand Slam singles title, the other being France's Yannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983.

1993:He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his death from AIDS-related pneumonia at age 49 on February 6, 1993.

Get The Black Mind Right