Fifty years ago this week, Arthur Ashe shocked the tennis world by winning the men’s singles at the first US Open.
No one had expected a fifth-seeded, 25-year-old amateur on temporary leave from the army to come out on top in a field that included the world’s best pro players. The era of Open tennis, in which both amateurs and professionals competed, was only four months old. Many feared that mixing the two groups was a mistake. Yet Ashe, with help from a string of upsets that eliminated the top four seeds, defeated the Dutchman Tom Okker in the championship match – in the process becoming the first black man to reach the highest echelon of amateur tennis.
As an amateur, Ashe could not accept the champion’s prize money of $14,000. But the lost income proved inconsequential in light of the other benefits that came in the wake of his historic performance.He became not only as a bona fide sports star but also a citizen activist with important things to contribute to society and a platform to do so. Ashe began to speak out on questions of social and economic justice.
Earlier in the year, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy had shocked Ashe out of his youthful reticence to become involved in the struggle for civil rights. Over the next 25 years, he worked tirelessly as an advocate for civil and human rights, a role model for athletes interested in more than fame and fortune.
more recommended stories
Alicia Keys Will Be the First Female Grammy Host in 14 Years | Slate
The 2019 Grammy Awards has found.
Prince George’s Community College Culinary Arts Student Dishes on Love for Food and Value of New Culinary Arts Center | The Washington Informer
Seven years ago Juan Obando Jimenez.
Florida Pardons the Groveland Four, 70 Years After Jim Crow-Era Rape Case | The New York Times
Four black men who were accused.
How Prosecutors Contribute to Mass Incarceration | Colorlines
Facebook0 Twitter0 Mail Sameer Rao, Colorlines.
A Simple Proposal to Revive the American Dream | The Atlantic
During the industrial age, when high.
The War on Black Athletes | The Atlantic
Facebook0 Twitter0 Mail Jemele Hill, The.
For the First Time, a Black Woman Will Lead The Harvard Crimson | The New York Times
Writers and editors at The Harvard.
Government Shutdown Hitting Blacks, People of Color the Hardest: CBC | The Washington Informer
The partial government shutdown reached a.
How Kamala Harris, a Tweet and a Pink and Green ‘Screech’ Proves We Need More Black Journalists | The Root
Just below the reported Lord and.
Coca-Cola Names Lori George Billingsley Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer | The Network Journal
16-year Coca-Cola Company veteran Lori George.