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Raising the Roof
Althea broke barriers
ABC Sports Online


Althea Gibson preceded Arthur Ashe by 10 years as the first African-American to win Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958 and the U.S. Open (then the U.S. Championships) during the same span, yet she has never been accorded proper public recognition for these amazing feats.

Althea Gibson
Althea Gibson makes a low return to Darlene Hard during their title match at Wimbledon July 6, 1957. Gibson won the title in 1957 and 1958.

Gibson's story is one of heroic triumph against the odds of poverty and racism, of a little girl with so much talent and determination she just couldn't be held back by these man-made obstacles. Today, Ms. Gibson lives a reclusive life and has not made a public appearance or granted a recorded interview in years. However, through interviews with friends and family, personal photos and footage, Gibson's singing (she recorded a jazz album-also played the sax), archival footage and current written words faithfully recited in first-person voice over, ABC Sports will bring her incredible saga to life.

In a "Raising the Roof" special, ABC Sports will show how Gibson's legacy is carried on not just by Venus and Serena Williams, but by inner city boys and girls getting the opportunity to play tennis today. According to a recent poll taken by ESPN/Chilton, tennis is now the fourth most popular sport among African-Americans.

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