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Ashe, Arthur

Arthur Ashe

1943-1993

American tennis player

Arthur Ashe's 1993 memoir, aptly titled Days of Grace, is a reflection on his brief but rich life as a champion tennis player, a father, an African-American man, and a compassionate and courageous human being. As the first African American to win a major men's tennis title and to be ranked number one internationally, Ashe used his position and reputation to speak out against inequities not only in the world of professional sports, but also against injustices wherever he saw them. That would prove to be a sacrifice more than simply a good deed. Ashe himself admitted in 1989 that had he focused only on tennis he could have been a better competitor. At the same time, it was clear by his words and actions that he didn't want to be remembered only for all his "firsts" as a black athlete but also as an African-American man who had fulfilled his "duties as a citizen," as he noted in his memoir. When he died at age 49 of AIDS-related pneumonia, thousands of mourners from all over the world attended his funeral.

Growing Up

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was born on July 10, 1943, near Richmond, Virginia, in one of the local hospitals that cared for black citizens. The hospitals in much of the U.S. were not integrated; segregation was the rule for medical care. Integrated schools were also unheard of in the South, so Ashe attended an all-black school. Even the playgrounds of his childhood years were segregated, and he watched from a distance as white children played tennis, a game that immediately fascinated him. In 1947, his father was made superintendent of the blacks-only Brook Field, a public park with a pool, tennis courts, basketball courts and baseball fields. The Ashes moved to the caretaker's cottage in the center of Brook Field, which soon became young Arthur's entire universe.

Ashe was a sickly kid who suffered from measles, chickenpox, mumps, whooping cough, and diphtheria, among other illnesses, which left him thin and weak. He'd always been interested in sports but, with arms and legs "thin as soda straws," as he described himself in his 1967 autobiography, Advantage Ashe, he was too light for football and too slow for track. He began to hit tennis balls. Then, in 1950, about a year after he'd first picked up a tennis racquet, his mother, Mattie Cordell Cunningham Ashe, died unexpectedly. Mattie Ashe had gone to the hospital for a minor surgery but succumbed to toxemia, a poisoning of the blood. The seven-year-old Ashe was devastated and refused to attend her burial. In order to cope, he grew somewhat emotionally distant and poured his energy into his schoolwork and tennis, and excelled at both.

By channeling his grief into his tennis game, Ashe had found a way to make adversity work in his favor. He did the same with his schoolwork. Attending a segregated elementary school in Richmond, he and his classmates were always taught they had to work harder than white children in order to succeed. "Discrimination plus the bias women faced in the job market combined to provide us with some truly remarkable teachers," he told the Chicago Tribune.

"Every day we got the same message drummed into us. 'Despite discrimination and lynch mobs,' teachers told us, 'some black folks have always managed to find a way to succeed. Okay, this may not be the best-equipped school; that just means you're going to have to be a little bit better prepared than white kids and ready to seize any opportunity that comes your way.'" Ashe was further encouraged by his father, a strict but loving disciplinarian who steeped in his son the virtues of morality.

Early Lessons

A student at Virginia Union University and part-time tennis teacher at Brook Field, Ronald Charity, soon recognized Ashe's natural talent. Charity began to coach Ashe, and encouraged him to enter his first tournament, at the Brook Field courts, which he lost to a boy three years his elder. But Ashe was not at all discouraged. By the time he was ten, Ashe was competing againstand defeatingolder, stronger boys, but the most important lesson he learned from Charity wasn't about shot-making; it was about sportsmanship. Charity had taught the young phenomenon not to gloat, as did his next instructor, Dr. Walter Johnson.

Johnson was a physician in Lynchburg, Virginia, who in his spare time coached African-American tennis players during summers at his home. His protégé, Althea Gibson , was the first to break the color barrier of the American Lawn Tennis league in 1956, after which she won the French and Italian titles, and numerous wins at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. From the summer of 1953 to the summer of 1960, Ashe worked with Dr. Johnson, who not only fine-tuned Ashe's game but also his conduct, the etiquette and composure that would become an Ashe hallmark. It was still prior to the civil-rights movement in America, and whenever black players were allowed to compete against whites, they were too aware that they had to be on their best behavior on the court. Ashe, like Johnson's other students, was schooled in the courteous acceptance of defeat and the humble pride of victory.

From 1955 to 1963, Ashe won titles in American Tennis Association (ATA) competitions. (The ATA was the African-American equivalent of the United States Lawn Tennis Association.) In 1960 and 1961, Ashe took the U.S. Junior Indoor singles title, which got him noticed by a Missouri coach, Richard Hudlin, a friend of Johnson's. It soon became apparent that if Ashe was to pursue tennis, he'd have to leave Richmond, a raciallysegregated city that precluded Ashe from playing whites. With winter approaching and the city's indoor courts closed to blacks, Ashe took Hudlin up on his suggestion that he spend his senior year in St. Louis. Once there, Ashe learned to leave his solid baseline game and became one of the original serve-and-volley players. He graduated from Sumner High School with the highest grade point average. But what gave him the greatest happiness was the realization of Dr. Johnson's dream that an African-American player would oppose a white player in a major United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA; now the USTA) competition. Though it had denied him access to competition several times on account of his race, the USLTA listed Ashe as the fifth-ranked junior player in the country and a Junior Davis Cup team member.

The Amateur Years

Numerous universities offered the young athlete and scholar a place in their freshman class. Ashe chose UCLA, which boasted one of the country's best collegiate tennis programs, and intended to study architecture or engineering. However, Ashe's coach urged him to major in business administration so he could better balance his studies, tennis practice and travel, ROTC, and the 250 hours of work his scholarship required he give to the college. The strategy paid off. When Ashe entered UCLA he was twenty-eighth in the U.S. amateur rankings. Two years and numerous tournaments later, Ashe was ranked sixth.

Under the tutelage of coach J. D. Morgan, who'd scouted Ashe, and Pancho Gonzalez , Ashe honed his aggressive court style, with a powerful backhand and speed-of-light serve. This was the ammunition that made him such a success on the faster grass and hard court surfaces. By the time he graduated from UCLA, he'd captured the NCAA singles and doubles (with Ian Crookenden) titles, played on the U.S. Davis Cup team, won the Johnston Award for his contribution to the sport, and was the country's number-one collegiate competitor. But perhaps most satisfying was the naming of February 4 as Arthur Ashe Day in the city of Richmond. "Ten years ago," Ashe said in a speech that day, "this would not have happened. It is as much a tribute to Richmond and the state of Virginia as it is to me."

Chronology

1943 Born July 10 in Richmond, Virginia
1950 Mother dies of complications from surgery
1957 Plays his first integrated event, becoming first African American to play in the Maryland boys' championships
1959 Debuts at U.S. National Championships
1963 First African American ever picked for U.S. Davis Cup team
1963 Debuts at Wimbledon
1964 First major grass-court title at Eastern Grass Court Championships
1965 Wins National Collegiate Athletic Association singles and doubles title
1966 Earns his bachelor of science degree in business administration from UCLA; inducted into Army
1968 As America's top-ranked amateur player, wins first of seven Davis Cups as member of U.S. team
1969 Wins U.S. Open and Davis Cup
1970 Wins Australian Open
1970 Lobbies to have South Africa expelled from International Lawn Tennis Federation; serves as U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Africa
1973 First visit to South Africa; becomes first black professional to play in its national championships
1974 Elected President of Association of Tennis Professionals
1975 Wins World Champion Tennis Championships
1975 Wins Wimbledon
1975 Becomes top-ranked player in the world
1977 Weds photographer Jeanne Marie Moutoussamy
1978 Last tournament win of career, Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles
1979 Suffers heart attack and undergoes quadruple-bypass surgery
1980 Retires from competitive tennis
1981-85 Named captain of U.S. Davis Cup team
1983 Undergoes second bypass surgery and receives blood transfusion
1985 Arrested in anti-apartheid demonstration outside South African embassy in Washington
1986 Daughter Camera is born in New York
1988 Hospitalized for bacterial infection, leading to HIV diagnosis
1991 Returns to South Africa with U.S. delegation as observer of political changes
1992 Arrested for demonstrating in front of White House on behalf of Haitian refugees
1992 Announces he has AIDS
1992 Founds Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS
1993 Dies of AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6
1996 Arthur Ashe monument erected in Richmond
1997 Main stadium at site of U.S. Open in New York City named Arthur Ashe Stadium

Ashe was inducted into the army in 1966, the year he graduated from UCLA. During the two years Ashe served in the army, first as deputy brigade commander in Fort Lewis, Washington, and then as a second lieutenant, his tennis career stalled somewhat. After boot camp, he was offered the position of assistant tennis coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, which he accepted, but it still didn't leave him much time to develop his game. He did reach the U.S. Indoor Championship finals in 1966, won the U.S. Clay Court Championship the following year, and at one point had a 9-0 singles Davis Cup record, but he missed a number of major tournaments and lost in the third round in straight sets to Australian John Newcombe at the U.S. Nationals.

Ranked Number One

Professional tennis players who'd experienced Ashe's topspin backhand or powerhouse serve knew he was a competitor with the makings of a champion. Though still an amateur, he'd won numerous tournaments against the sport's best players, and his Davis Cup team performance was admirable. But he hadn't taken a single Grand Slam event. No one knew better than Ashe himself that in 1968-his college years behind him, his two years of army service complete-he would have to put everything he had into tennis if he wanted to be successful as a professional.

Upon leaving the military Ashe was in excellent physical condition, and he was mentally prepared to be a winner. That summer he played well at Wimbledon, though he fell to Rod Laver in the semi-finals. But he was victorious in both the U.S. Nationals men's singles title and the first U.S. Open, a feat no man had ever accomplished. In addition, his Davis Cup team took the title from the Australians, a win Ashe cherished above all others. He once said he never lost sleep over any tournament other than the Davis Cup. To Ashe, there was an enormous difference between losing as an individual and losing as a representative of the United States.

The first black man to win a Grand Slam title and now the top-ranked player in America, Arthur Ashe had achieved true celebrity status. Photographs of him appeared on magazine covers, his name appeared on tennis-related products, major corporations signed him on as spokesman, and he offered tennis clinics for American Express and Coca-Cola. He was appointed tennis director at the Doral Resort and Country Club in Miami, Florida, and even made the tabloid gossip pages when he dated fashion models and stars such as singer Diana Ross.

Ashe put his hard-won fame to use. He turned professional in 1969 and immediately began to work to protect players' rights and interests. With his colleagues he created the International Tennis Players Association, acting first as treasurer and later as the union's vice-president. (The association was renamed the Association of Tennis Professionals in 1972, and two years later Ashe was elected ATP president.) He repeatedly spoke out against the apartheid policies of the South African government and succeeded in having South Africa expelled from Davis Cup competition. With his stature, Ashe's public outcry garnered world attention to the oppressive rule of apartheid, and in 1970 Ashe was selected to act as goodwill ambassador to Africa. The U. S. Department of State sent him to Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda, where he met with government leaders, students, and diplomats. The following year, as a member of a delegation of tennis players, Ashe visited Cameroon, Gabon, Senegal, and Cote d'Ivoire. It was at a tennis club in Cameroon where Ashe noticed the young, talented Yannick Noah, who he arranged to have sent to France for tutelage under the care of the French Tennis Federation.

Center Court

Over the course of the next few years, Ashe's game seemed to stagnate. A new generation of competitors, such as Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors , were testing his dynamic serve-and-volley game with power, precision, and an almost appalling sense of confidence. By 1975, Ashe's ranking had sunk to fifth place. Some blamed his political activism for his deteriorating game, others his age (he was 31). Ashe steeled himself, determined to win the World Champion Tennis title that spring in Dallas, Texas. He did. But an even bigger victory was in sight.

Awards and Accomplishments

American Tennis Association (ATA) is the oldest African-American sports organization in the United States.
Davis Cup: (as player) 1963, 1965-70, 1975, 1977-78, won 27 singles; (as captain) 1981-85, won 1981, 1982.
Ashe retired in 1980 with a career record of 818 wins, 260 losses, and 51 titles.
1955 ATA 12-and-under singles; ATA 12-and-under doubles
1956 ATA 15-and-under doubles
1957 ATA 15-and-under singles
1958 15-and-under singles; ATA 15-and-under doubles
1960 18-and-under singles; ATA men's singles; U.S. Junior Indoors singles
1961 ATA men's singles; ATA men's doubles; U.S. Junior Indoors singles; U.S. Interscholastics singles
1962 ATA men's singles
1963 ATA men's singles; U.S. Hard Courts singles
1964 Eastern Grass Court Championship; sixth-ranked amateur in nation
1964 Received Johnston Award for contributing the most to the growth of tennis while exhibiting good sportsmanship
1965 NCAA singles; NCAA doubles
1967 U.S. Clay Courts singles
1968 U.S. National singles; U.S. Open singles
1970 U.S. Indoors doubles; Australian Open singles
1971 French Open doubles
1975 World Championship Tennis singles; Wimbledon singles
1975 Named Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Player of the Year
1977 Australian Open doubles
1985 Inducted into International Tennis Hall of Fame
1992 Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

When Arthur Ashe stepped onto the grass at Wimbledon and bowed to the Royal Box, the last thing on his

mind was the fact that he was the first African American to compete in the exclusive court of the world's oldest tennis tournament. The date was July 5, 1975, and Ashe was playing for the men's singles title. The challenge would require his complete concentration. His opponent was one of the top-seeded players, twenty-two-year-old fellow American Jimmy Connors. The two had battled before and in all three of their matches, Ashe had been the loser. Sports fans on both sides of the Atlantic expected the brash and self-taught Connors to "slaughter" Ashe, as Ashe noted in his memoir Days of Grace.

In addition, only days before Wimbledon, Connors had filed a lawsuit against Ashe for libel. Ashe was not intimidated. He'd stood by his principles, having accused Connors of playing matches for big purses while refusing to join the United States squad for the international Davis Cup competition, where players are paid in the currency of patriotic honor, not hard cash. Despite the lawsuit, Ashe retained his cool and even demeanor.

Ashe won Wimbledon by finessing the hard-hitting Connors with a brilliantly strategic game of defensive tennis. He played conservatively, hitting balls deep then rushing the net, keeping Connors off balance. Also, Ashe had decided that rather than try to outpower the southpaw, he'd hit the ball softly, breaking Connors' rhythm. It would also force Connors to generate his own power, rather than simply redirect the ball using Ashe's velocity. Ashe's plan for the historic match would later help some of the decade's best playersBjorn Borg, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe undercut Connors' phenomenal, dominating power game. With a 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 victory at Wimbledon, he not only obtained the number-one ranking in the world that year but saw the culmination of a lifetime of struggle. "When I took the match point, all the years, all the effort, all the support I had received over the years came together," he later reflected.

Back to Business

During a benefit tournament in 1976 for the United Negro College Fund at New York's Madison Square Garden, a professional photographer stepped up to Ashe to take his picture. By the day's end, Ashe had a date with the photographer, the stunning Jeanne Marie Moutoussamy. Four months later, Ashein a cast having recently undergone heel surgery- and Moutoussamy were married in New York City by Reverend Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Ashe's heel surgery had been successful, but another injury followed, and, compounded with recurrent eye inflammations, he decided to lay low for the year. Though he took the Australian Open doubles title, with his partner Tony Roche, he was forced to skip Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1977. This caused his ranking to fall, which in turn led the sportswear company Catalina to drop Ashe as a key endorser. Ashe was forced to come up with other means of providing an income.

Ashe's academic background in business and his real-life experience with some of the largest corporations in America made him comfortable acting as a consultant and entrepreneur. During the course of his life, he had a business relationship with Head USA, a manufacturer of sports gear that kept Ashe on board even though it lost accounts in the South due to Ashe's race. Doral Resort and Country Club maintained its association with Ashe, which had special meaning for Ashe since the nearby Admiral Hotel refused to accommodate him during a 1961 tournament in Miami, yet housed all the other junior players, who were white. In addition, Ashe became a columnist with Tennis magazine and the Washington Post, and was a consultant with clothing manufacturer Le Coq Sportif. "The longevity and human quality of these connections mean far more to me than the money they bring," he wrote in Days of Grace. Ashe also acted as consultant with the Aetna Life and Casualty Company, where he had been in charge of minority recruitment, and would later be honored by the offer of a seat on their board of directors.

The Greatest Burden

By 1979 Ashe still wasn't ready to give up tennis. He played thirteen tournaments but reached the finals in only two. Then, on July 30, a tremendous pain in his chest woke the athlete from a sound sleep. Within an hour, the pain would recur twice. Each time it subsided he went back to sleep. The next day, Ashe gave two tennis clinics in New York and while signing autographs, was struck again. Arthur Ashe had had a heart attack. In December he underwent a quadruple bypass surgery. He would never play tennis again.

But Ashe was optimistic and tried to get back into competition shape. It was not to be. On April 16, 1980, Ashe announced his retirement from competitive tennis. Yet he remained actively involved in the sport. That year he was made captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, whose members included the mercurial John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, and Vitas Gerulaitis, and led the team to victory in 1981 and 1982. He worked as a sports commentator for ABC and HBO television, gave innumerable clinics to inner city children, wrote articles and books on the sport, made a tennis video, and in 1985 was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1983, Ashe underwent a second bypass operation. Weak from the procedure, he was given a blood transfusion to try to bolster his strength and speed his recovery. In 1988, Ashe needed an operation on his brain, and tests following that surgery were positive for the virus that causes AIDS. Doctors concluded that Ashe had contracted HIV from the transfusion he was given following his second heart surgery. At the time the news was a death sentence. However, this did not stop Ashe from struggling for social justice. In 1985 he was arrested outside the South African embassy in Washington, DC, while protesting against the country's institutionalized racism. A few years later he was arrested again, for speaking out against President Bush's policy regarding the treatment of Haitian refugees with HIV/AIDS.

In 1992, USA Today threatened to run a story announcing that Ashe had AIDS. He talked it over with his wife and decided to scoop the paper. In a public press conference, Ashe not only admitted that he had AIDS but kicked off his campaign to educate the public about the disease and set up a foundation to defeat the disease. He spoke out against discrimination against homosexuals in general and AIDS sufferers for the remainder of his life. But he never asked for pity. When a well-meaning reporter for People magazine suggested that having AIDS must be the greatest burden Ashe had ever had to bear, he corrected her. "No, it isn't," he wrote in his memoir. "Being Black is the greatest burden I've had to bear. Having to live as a minority in America. Even now it continues to feel like an extra weight tied around me."

Ashe completed his final memoir, Days of Grace, just two days before he died. The book concludes with an open letter to his daughter, Camera, then only six years old (she was born December 21, 1986), whom he wrote was a "daily affirmation of the power of life." That spirit kept Ashe active and outspoken throughout his fatal illness. "He was out doing things, making his point, and taking care of business right up until the end," former competitor Jimmy Connors recalled in Sports Stars. "I guess that sums up everything he stood for."

Ashe's Legacy

Arthur Ashe's legacy is manifold. Rarely have sports celebrities taken on social issues with such passion and commitment as did Ashe. He broke color barriers both in his own country and abroad, and fought tirelessly for social justice, founding the African American Athletic Association to mentor student athletes and helping preserve the history of African-American athletes with his contributions to the 1988 A Hard Road to Glory. He helped erase the stigma of having AIDS, raised public awareness of this devastating epidemic, and spoke to the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to get more funds devoted to AIDS research. In 1990, when President Nelson Mandela, freed from his South African jail after twenty-seven years, was asked which American he'd most like to meet, his immediate response was "Arthur Ashe." Tennis champion Martina Navratilova characterized Ashe, as reported in the Washington Post (and quoted in Newsmakers 1993), as "an extraordinary human being who transcended his sport, his race, religion and nationality and in his own way helped to change the world."

Related Biography: Tennis Player Yannick Noah

Yannick Simon Camille Noah was born on May 18, 1960, in Sedan, France, and at the age of three he moved with his family to his father's native country of Cameroon. In 1971, while attending a tennis clinic at a local club, Noah was given the chance to play with Ashe, who was making his second goodwill tour of Africa. Ashe, moved by the youngster's plight and his talent, arranged to have Noah enrolled at the French Tennis Federation (FTF) training center in Nice, France, where he trained for five years. One year short of graduation, Noah left school to focus exclusively on tennis. In 1977, Noah won the French junior title and the Wimbledon junior title, after which he went professional.

In 1978, Noah took the Australian Open and U.S. Open singles titles, and in 1979 made it to the semis and finals at the French Open and Wimbledon. His Grand Slam performances earned him the top ranking in France in 1980. At age twenty-three he won the French Open, and a year later he and partner Henri Leconte won the doubles title there.

Noah stayed off the tennis circuit for a year to recover from injuries and the devastating death of his grandfather. He came back to his game to win the Italian Open in 1985, but what looked like an auspicious return to the game was only transitory. He played his way to the finals of many tournaments and achieved the ranking in 1986 of third in the world in singles play and first in doubles, yet the more prestigious titles eluded him. After pursuing a music career for a few years, he trained the French team in 1996 for the Davis Cup and the Fed Cup, the premier international team event for women. In both events, France was victorious.

Noah lives in Montreux, Switzerland, and often participates in the charitable tennis tournaments and the ATP Senior Tour tournaments in Switzerland.

Increasing minority presence in all sectors of society was a vision to which Arthur Ashe dedicated his life. "I know I could never forgive myself," Ashe wrote in his memoir, "if I elected to live without human purpose, without trying to help the poor and unfortunate, without recognizing that perhaps the purest joy in life comes from trying to help others." Ashe was adamant about the necessity of increasing minority participation throughout society, not just in the sports arena. "We deify black athletes," the Houston Chronicle quoted Ashe as saying in 1992. "Black families are eight times more likely to push youngsters into athletics than are white families. The disparity is glaring." Shortly after his retirement, Ashe said (according to an article on About.com), "We have been on the same roads-sports and entertainmenttoo long. We need to pull over, fill up at the library, and speed away to Congress and to the Supreme Court, the unions and the business world."

SELECTED WRITINGS BY ASHE:

(With Clifford Gewecke, Jr.) Advantage Ashe, Coward, McCann, 1967.

(With Frank DeFord) Arthur Ashe: Portrait in Motion, Houghton Mifflin, 1975.

(With Louie Robinson, Jr.) Getting Started in Tennis, Atheneum, 1977.

Mastering Your Tennis Strokes, Macmillan, 1978.

(With Neil Amdur) Off the Court, New American Library, 1981.

Arthur Ashe's Tennis Clinic, Golf Digest/Tennis Inc., 1981.

(With Kip Branch, Oceana Chalk, and Francis Harris) A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete, Warner, 1988.

(With Arnold Rampersad) Days of Grace, Knopf, 1993.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Books

Ashe, Arthur and Arnold Rampersad. Days of Grace. New York: Knopf, 1993.

The Complete Marquis Who's Who. Marquis Who's Who, 2001.

Contemporary Black Biography, Vol. 18. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Research, 1998.

Newsmakers 1993. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Research, 1993.

Weissberg, Ted. Arthur Ashe: Tennis Great. New York: Chelsea House, 1991.

Periodicals

"Arthur Ashe's Widow Says She's Not in Agreement with Husband's Statue Being Erected amid Civil War Heroes." Jet (January 22, 1996): 34.

Bruning, Fred. "How a Private Citizen Lost His Privacy Rights." Maclean's (May 4, 1992): 13.

Chicago Tribune (November 28, 1988).

"France's Davis Cup Captain Yannick Noah Remembers Big Help from U.S. Davis Cup Captain Arthur Ashe." Jet (February 27, 1995): 48.

Johnson, Robert E. "Arthur Ashe's New Book, Days of Grace, Tells of His Three Burdens: Race, AIDS, and Davis Cup." Jet (July 26, 1993): 34.

Leavy, Walter. "Arthur Ashe: The Gentle Warrior 1943-1993." Ebony (April 1993): 110.

Lipper, Bob. "Arthur Ashe." Richmond Times Dispatch (February 1, 2002).

Review of Days of Grace. Ebony (September 1993): 18.

Other

"1998 Racial and Gender Report Card." Center for th Study of Sport in Society, Northeastern University. http://www.sportinsociety.org/ (July 5, 2002).

About.com. http://racerelations.about.com (July 10, 2002).

American Tennis Association. http://www.atanational.com (July 22, 2002).

"Arthur Ashe: Much More Than Tennis." About.com. http://tennis.about.com/ (July 7, 2002).

"Ashe's Impact Reached Far Beyond the Court." ESPN Classic. http://espn.go.com/classic/biography/s/Ashe_Arthur.html (July 10, 2002).

Celebrities in Switzerland. http://switzerlandisyours.com/ (July 10, 2002).

Contemporary Authors Online. http://galenet.galegroup.com/ (July 4, 2002).

Fed Cup. http://216.39.7.20/ (July 19, 2002).

"Fête Le Mur." BNP Paribas. http://tennis.bnpparibas.com/ (July 10, 2002).

Internet Movie Database. http://www.imdb.com/ (July 5, 2002).

"Marvelous Messenger: Ashe stressed importance of striving for excellence outside sports." Houston Chronicle. http://www.houstonchron.com/ (July 5, 2002).

MCM.NET. http://www.mcm.net/ (July 19, 2002).

Sports Illustrated/CNN. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/features/1997/arthurashebiography.html (July 4, 2002).

"Women and Minorities in Tennis." Tennis Industry. http://www.tennisindustry.com/ (July 10, 2002).

Sketch by Jane Summer

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Summer, Jane. "Ashe, Arthur." Notable Sports Figures. 2004. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Ashe, Arthur 1943–1993

Arthur Ashe 19431993

Professional tennis player

Instilled Him With Keys to Success

Playing Tennis in His Fathers Park

Accepted UCLA Scholarship

Suffered Major Heart Attack

Diagnosed With AIDS

Selected writings

Sources

The first black man to reach the top ranks of international tennis, Arthur Ashe is the very personification of the educated gentleman-athlete. Ashes talents on the tennis courts not only secured his personal fame, they also opened the sport to greater black participationboth on a professional and recreational basis. Wichita Eagle columnist Fred Mann noted that the dignified Ashe has had as much to do as anyone with transforming tennis in the 1970s into a sport that was popular with the masses. Mann added that the former winner of the prestigious Wimbledon and U.S. Open matches and Tennis Hall of Famer conducted himself on the court with grace and composure at all times, unlike some of his Caucasian colleagues.

Arthur Ashe was certainly a phenomenon during his playing career and remains one to this day. In the Richmond Times-Dispatch Bob Lipper wrote that Ashe is wealthy and famous, a certified American hero whose visibility endures a decade after his playing career ended. More, hes a voice of reason in a minefield of rhetorical overkill, a conscience on matters of race and sport. And hes an accomplished man of letters. Lipper referred to the critically acclaimed role Ashe has assumed as an author, columnist, and lecturer on issues concerning blacks in sports. As a tennis player, Arthur Ashe was firstratenot as successful as he mightve been minus the selfimposed emotional constraints that governed his existence in an Anglo world of country clubs and garden partiesbut a major force nonetheless, Lipper continued. Still, its been during the 1980sas an ex-athlete that Ashe has truly become worldclass, establishing his credentials as businessman, author, commentator and champion of just causes. Hes made it look easy, but then grace always was part of his essence.

Instilled Him With Keys to Success

Arthur Ashe, Jr., was born July 10th, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. His ancestry is Native American and Mexican as well as black. While Ashe was a youngster growing up in segregated Richmond, his father ran the largest park for blacks in the city. In fact, the Ashe family lived in a caretakers cottage right in the park, so young Arthur spent many hours engaged in athletic pursuits. Lipper described Arthur Ashe, Sr., as a hardworking

At a Glance

Born Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. on July 10, 1943, in Richmond, VA died on February 6, 1993 in New York, NY; son of Arthur, Sr. (a park superintendent) and Mattie (Cunningham) Ashe; married Jeanne-Marie Moutoussamy (a photographer), February 20, 1977; children: Camera Elizabeth. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. in business administration, 1966.

Career: Amateur tennis player, 1958-69; professional tennis player, 1969-80; has finished first at least once in the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and Davis Cup championships and was number-one-ranked player in the world, 1968 and 1975; elected to the United States Tennis Hall of Fame c. 1985. Writer, lecturer, tennis coach, and television commentator, 1980-93. Military service: United States Army, first lieutenant, 1967-69.

Awards: Named Player of the year, 1975; honorary doctorates from Virginia Commonwealth University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Le Moyn University, and others. Emmy Award for television adaptation of A Hard Road to Glory. Named Sports Illustrateds Sportsman of the Year, 1992; a tennis club in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, has been named in Ashes honor; center named the Ashe Athletic Center in Richmond, Virginia; statue erected on Monument Avenue in Richmond, 1996; stadium named in his honor in Flushing Meadow, New York, 1997.

man who subscribed to such fuddy-duddy virtues as diligence and respect and honest labor, and he expected nothing less from his children. From his father Ashe inherited a sense of pride, dedication, and dignity. His mothers influence led to a measure of introversion that translated to studied calm on the court. Ashes was not a trouble-free childhood. He told the Chicago Tribune: My mom died when I was six, and books and sports were my way of bandaging the wound. I was too light for football and not quite fast enough for track, which left tennis as a logical choice.

The choice might have been more logical for a white youngster in those last days of nationally legislated racism. Black playerswith the outstanding exception of Althea Gibsonwere almost nonexistent in the highest amateur and professional ranks. Still Ashe persevered, taking encouragement from the success of baseball player Jackie Robinson. He was also encouraged in his all-black school in Richmond, where he says he received an excellent education. It was part of a curious phenomenon I call the paradoxical advantage of segregation, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune Discrimination plus the bias women faced in the job market combined to provide us with some truly remarkable teachers. Every day we got the same message drummed into us. Despite discrimination and lynch mobs, teachers told us, some black folks have always managed to find a way to succeed. Okay, this may not be the bestequipped school; that just means youre going to have to be a little better prepared than white kids and ready to seize any opportunity that comes your way. Ashe did seize the opportunityhe was an honors student in high school and was accepted at the University of California, Los Angeles, on a tennis scholarship.

Playing Tennis in His Fathers Park

Ashe began playing tennis at the age of seven in the playground that his father maintained. Ronald Charity, a part-time instructor at the playground, noticed Ashes talent and arranged for the boy to meet Dr. Walter Johnson, a black doctor based in Lynchburg, Virginia. In addition to his medical practice, Johnson enjoyed coaching promising black tennis players and provided them with proper equipment and courts. He detected Ashes potential very early and did everything he could to advance the youngsters career. Unfortunately, Johnsons lessons also necessarily had to stress court etiquette for black players; since the game was so dominated by whites, and Johnson and his charges lived in the South, he taught his players to accept defeat graciously and to celebrate victories with humility.

Ashe was playing as a nationally ranked amateur by the time he turned 14. In both 1960 and 1961 he won the junior indoor singles title, a feat that brought him to the attention of Richard Hudlin, a tennis coach in the St. Louis area. Hudlin invited Ashe to St. Louis to continue his tennis training. Ashe accepted the offer and finished high school there. By 1962 he was the fifth-ranked junior player in the United States.

Such a dry recital of the facts makes Ashes accomplishments sound easy. In reality he faced a multitude of racerelated obstacles, including being barred from competition because his application arrived too latea favorite excuse of segregated country clubs. When he was allowed to play Ashe often found himself surrounded by a sea of white faces, both on and off the court. He was the lone black star in his sport and he remained ever conscious of the example he was setting. Ashe told the Wichita Eagle that despite his success, his self-esteem suffered from the treatment he had received from whites while growing up in the South. You never fully overcome [racism], he said. I hate to say it, but you live with it all your life. You get the undeniable impression that the world doesnt like you, he continued.

Accepted UCLA Scholarship

After graduating from high school Ashe accepted a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). There he perfected his skills with UCLA coach J. D. Morgan and tennis legend Pancho Gonzalez, who lived near the campus. In 1963 Ashe earned a place on the Davis Cup team and earned a victory in his first national contest, the U.S. Mens Hard Court championship. The following year saw him ranked sixth nationally among amateurs, and in 1965after singles victories in the Davis Cup finals and a tour of Australiahe became the second-ranked amateur in the nation. Ashe closed out his collegiate tennis career by leading UCLA to the NCAA national championship, winning in both singles and doubles competition. Not one to neglect his studies in favor of tennis, however, Ashe earned a Bachelors degree in business administration in June of 1966.

Ashe continued to play tennis during his military service, which he served as a first lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In the midst of his stint with the army he won the 1967 Mens Clay Court championship and the United States amateur title. The latter victory earned him an invitation to the U.S. Open tournament; it came as little surprise to tennis observers when Ashe won the Open and became the top-ranked player in the nation in 1968. Even in those glory days, however, the tennis star felt isolated by his race. He told Sports Illustrated: Its an abnormal world I live in. I dont belong anywhere. Its like Im floating down the middle. Im never quite sure where I am. I do get lonely and it does bother me that I am in this predicament. But I dont dwell on it, because I know it will resolve itself.

Displaying a composure well beyond his years and a vast repertory of power backhands, Ashe remained among the top-five-ranked tennis stars internationally between 1969 and 1975. Observers noted his relaxed demeanor on the court and the calm but grim determination that often unnerved his more volatile opponents. Few in the audience realized that Ashe was far more emotional than he seemed. Before important matches he would sometimes be stricken with nervous stomach cramps; Ashe has since admitted that he wishes he could have been more free with his feelings during those crucial years. Ashe turned professional in 1969 and played numerous important matches throughout the following decade. His game peaked in 1975 when he won both the prestigious Wimbledon Singles championship and the World Championship Tennis Singles. By that time the changing racial climate had improved sports opportunities for black athletes and Ashe was hailed as a pioneer in his field: He was the first black man to win at Wimbledon and the first to receive a number-one ranking internationally.

Suffered Major Heart Attack

In 1979, at the age of thirty-five, Ashe suffered a major heart attack. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery, vowing to return to tennis as soon as he healed. Upon recovery, however, he still suffered chest pains and was threatened with further surgery. He announced his retirement from tennis in April of 1980. An athlete retires twice, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune. The first time is when they dont renew your contract. But for a couple of years afterwards you still think you could get in shape again and play another season or two. Then one day you look in the mirror and the reality finally sinks in that its time to find something else to do with the rest of your life.

So Arthur Ashe the tennis star became Arthur Ashe the author, lecturer, and social critic. Few former athletes of any race have put their college educations to greater use than has Ashe. In 1982 he was invited to give a seminar on the history of blacks in sports at Florida Memorial College. When he went to the library to research the topic, he found very little documentation of black accomplishment in professional sports, especially before the days of Negro League baseball. Investing $300,000 of his own money and several years in the process of research and writing, Ashe produced A Hard Road to Glory, a three-volume comprehensive history of Americas black athletes. The project was a natural, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune, since it brought both sides of me, the bookish and the sports-minded, together. Once I made the decision to do it, I had to go at the book the way Ive always done thingsthe way our teachers at Maggie Walker High School insisted uponall out, with everything Ive got. A Hard Road to Glori; received critical acclaim and went into a second printing. It earned Ashe a number of honorary doctorates from the nations universities and even an Emmy award when it was produced as a television documentary.

Diagnosed With AIDS

Having had two heart attacks, Ashe guarded his health with great care. In, 1988, he underwent brain surgery. Ashe was then diagnosed with AIDS. He had contracted the virus from an unchecked blood transfusion during his heart surgery in 1983. Though diagnosed in 1988 Ashe kept his illness a secret until a newspaper threatened exposure in 1992. He made the announcement at a press conference. Not one to back down from a challenge, Ashe established the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS. He also joined the boards of the Harvard AIDS Institute and the UCLA AIDS Institute. He also solicited help from the professional tennis world to raise funds and increase awareness of this deadly disease.

Already an activisthe spoke out against apartheid in South Africa, racismhe became a champion of human causes. He spoke on the importance of educating young minds. He spoke about the tragedies of the inner cities. He protested against the U.S. immigration policy toward Haitians. He questioned the lack of funding for AIDS research. He also spoke at the General Assembly of the United Nations concerning AIDS issues on World AIDS Day in December of 1992.

During his last months, Ashe wrote a final biography entitled Days of Grace: A Memoir. He covered the social issues that were important to him, his living with AIDS and his family, especially his daughter, Camera. On February 6, 1993, Arthur Ashe died of pneumonia, a complication of AIDS, in New York City. His body laid in state at the Virginia governors mansion as many people paid their last respects. A memorial service was held in St. Johns Cathedral in New York City, and the funeral took place at the Ashe Athletic Center in Richmond, Virginia.

To commemorate Ashes life, a statue was erected on Monument Avenue in Richmond. A new stadium at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, New York was also named after Ashe. Though known for his accomplishments on the tennis courts, Ashe was a symbol of grace and hope to all. Perhaps writer S.L. Price of Sports Illustrated stated it best: Sport is fleeting. Wonderful careers spark, blaze and flame out in a decade; the typical champion spends his remaining 50 years in a kind of endless cast party, full of backslaps and soggy nostalgia. Not Ashe. He knew that his place in history gave him authority, a platform he could either sleep on or speak from for the rest of his days. He made his choice. It made him different.

Selected writings

(With Frank Deford) Advantage Ashe, Coward, 1967.

(With Frank DeFord) Portrait in Motion, Houghton, 1975.

Arthur Ashes Tennis Clinic, illustrations by Jim McQueen, Golf Digest/Tennis Magazine, 1981.

(With Neil Amdur) Off the Court, New American Library, 1981.

A Hard Road to Glory, 3 volumes, Warner Books, 1988.

(With Arnold Rampersad) Days of Grace: A Memoir, Knopf, 1993.

Sources

Books

Contemporary Authors, vol. 42, Gale Research, 1994.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, vol. 1, Gale Research, 1998.

Something About the Author, vol. 87, Gale Research, 1996.

Periodicals

Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1988.

Life, October 15, 1965.

Newsday, February 12, 1991.

New York Times Magazine, January 2, 1966.

People, March 6, 1989.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 1990.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 21, 1989.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 26, 1988.

Sports Illustrated, September 20, 1965; August 29, 1966; February 15, 1993; September 19, 1994.

Wichita Eagle, February 21, 1990.

Mark Kram and Ashyia N. Henderson

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Kram, Mark; Henderson, Ashyia. "Ashe, Arthur 1943–1993." Contemporary Black Biography. 1998. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Kram, Mark; Henderson, Ashyia. "Ashe, Arthur 1943–1993." Contemporary Black Biography. 1998. Retrieved June 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2872000011.html

Ashe, Arthur 1943—

Arthur Ashe 1943

Professional tennis player, commentator, writer

At a Glance

Began Playing Tennis in His Fathers Park

Accepted UCLA Scholarship

Suffered Major Heart Attack

Authority on Minorities in Sports

Selected writings

Sources

The first black man to reach the top ranks of international tennis, Arthur Ashe is the very personification of the educated gentleman-athlete. Ashes talents on the tennis courts not only secured his personal fame, they also opened the sport to greater black participationboth on a professional and recreational basis. Wichita Eagle columnist Fred Mann noted that the dignified Ashe has had as much to do as anyone with transforming tennis in the 1970s into a sport that was popular with the masses. Mann added that the former winner of the prestigious Wimbledon and U.S. Open matches and Tennis Hall of Famer conducted himself on the court with grace and composure at all times, unlike some of his Caucasian colleagues.

Arthur Ashe was certainly a phenomenon during his playing career and remains one to this day. In the Richmond Times-Dispatch Bob Upper wrote that Ashe is wealthy and famous, a certified American hero whose visibility endures a decade after his playing career ended. More, hes a voice of reason in a minefield of rhetorical overkill, a conscience on matters of race and sport. And hes an accomplished man of letters. Upper referred to the critically acclaimed role Ashe has assumed as an author, columnist, and lecturer on issues concerning blacks in sports. As a tennis player, Arthur Ashe was first-ratenot as successful as he mightve been minus the self-imposed emotional constraints that governed his existence in an Anglo world of country clubs and garden partiesbut a major force nonetheless, Upper continued. Still, its been during the 1980s as an ex-athletethat Ashe has truly become world-class, establishing his credentials as businessman, author, commentator and champion of just causes. Hes made it look easy, but then grace always was part of his essence.

Arthur Ashe, Jr., was born July 10th, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. His ancestry is Native American and Mexican as well as black. While Ashe was a youngster growing up in segregated Richmond, his father ran the largest park for blacks in the city. In fact, the Ashe family lived in a caretakers cottage right in the park, so young Arthur spent many hours engaged in athletic pursuits. Upper described Arthur Ashe, Sr., as a hardworking man who subscribed to such fuddy-duddy virtues as diligence and respect and honest labor, and he expected

At a Glance

Full name, Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr.; born July 10, 1943, in Richmond, VA; son of Arthur, Sr. (a park superintendent) and Mattie (Cunningham) Ashe; married Jeanne-Marie Moutoussamy (a photographer), February 20, 1977; children: Camera Elizabeth. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A. in business administration, 1966.

Amateur tennis player, 1958-69; professional tennis player, 1969-80; has finished first at least once in the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and Davis Cup championships and was number-one-ranked player in the world, 1968 and 1975; elected to the United States Tennis Hall of Fame c. 1985. Writer, lecturer, tennis coach, and television commentator, 1980. Military service: United States Army, first lieutenant, 1967-69.

Awards: Honorary doctorates from Virginia Commonwealth University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Le Moyne University, and others. Emmy Award for television adaptation of A Hard Road to Glory. A tennis club in Manayunk, Pennsylvania, has been named in Ashes honor.

nothing less from his children. From his father Ashe inherited a sense of pride, dedication, and dignity. His mothers influence led to a measure of introversion that translated to studied calm on the court. Ashes was not a trouble-free childhood. He told the Chicago Tribune: My mom died when I was six, and books and sports were my way of bandaging the wound. I was too light for football and not quite fast enough for track, which left tennis as a logical choice.

The choice might have been more logical for a white youngster in those last days of nationally legislated racism. Black playerswith the outstanding exception of Althea Gibsonwere almost nonexistent in the highest amateur and professional ranks. Still Ashe persevered, taking encouragement from the success of baseball player Jackie Robinson. He was also encouraged in his all-black school in Richmond, where he says he received an excellent education. It was part of a curious phenomenon I call the paradoxical advantage of segregation, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune. Discrimination plus the bias women faced in the job market combined to provide us with some truly remarkable teachers. Every day we got the same message drummed into us. Despite discrimination and lynch mobs, teachers told us, some black folks have always managed to find a way to succeed. Okay, this may not be the best-equipped school; that just means youre going to have to be a little better prepared than white kids and ready to seize any opportunity that comes your way. Ashe did seize the opportunityhe was an honors student in high school and was accepted at the University of California, Los Angeles, on a tennis scholarship.

Began Playing Tennis in His Fathers Park

Ashe began playing tennis at the age of seven in the playground that his father maintained. Ronald Charity, a part-time instructor at the playground, noticed Ashes talent and arranged for the boy to meet Dr. Walter Johnson, a black doctor based in Lynchburg, Virginia. In addition to his medical practice, Johnson enjoyed coaching promising black tennis players and provided them with proper equipment and courts. He detected Ashes potential very early and did everything he could to advance the youngsters career. Unfortunately, Johnsons lessons also necessarily had to stress court etiquette for black players; since the game was so dominated by whites, and Johnson and his charges lived in the South, he taught his players to accept defeat graciously and to celebrate victories with humility.

Ashe was playing as a nationally ranked amateur by the time he turned 14. In both 1960 and 1961 he won the junior indoor singles title, a feat that brought him to the attention of Richard Hudlin, a tennis coach in the St. Louis area. Hudlin invited Ashe to St. Louis to continue his tennis training. Ashe accepted the offer and finished high school there. By 1962 he was the fifth-ranked junior player in the United States.

Such a dry recital of the facts makes Ashes accomplishments sound easy. In reality he faced a multitude of race-related obstacles, including being barred from competition because his application arrived too latea favorite excuse of segregated country clubs. When he was allowed to play Ashe often found himself surrounded by a sea of white faces, both on and off the court. He was the lone black star in his sport and he remained ever conscious of the example he was setting. Ashe told the Wichita Eagle that despite his success, his self-esteem suffered from the treatment he had received from whites while growing up in the South. You never fully overcome [racism], he said. I hate to say it, but you live with it all your life. You get the undeniable impression that the world doesnt like you.

Accepted UCLA Scholarship

After graduating from high school Ashe accepted a scholarship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). There he perfected his skills with UCLA coach J. D. Morgan and tennis legend Pancho Gonzalez, who lived near the campus. In 1963 Ashe earned a place on the Davis Cup team and earned a victory in his first national contest, the U.S. Mens Hard Court championship. The following year saw him ranked sixth nationally among amateurs, and in 1965after singles victories in the Davis Cup finals and a tour of Australiahe became the second-ranked amateur in the nation. Ashe closed out his collegiate tennis career by leading UCLA to the NCAA national championship, winning in both singles and doubles competition. Not one to neglect his studies in favor of tennis, however, Ashe earned a bachelors degree in business administration in June of 1966.

Ashe continued to play tennis during his military service, which he served as a first lieutenant from the Reserve Officers Training Corps. In the midst of his stint with the army he won the 1967 Mens Clay Court championship and the United States amateur title. The latter victory earned him an invitation to the U.S. Open tournament; it came as little surprise to tennis observers when Ashe won the Open and became the top-ranked player in the nation in 1968. Even in those glory days, however, the tennis star felt isolated by his race. He told Sports Illustrated: Its an abnormal world I live in. I dont belong anywhere. Its like Im floating down the middle. Im never quite sure where I am. I do get lonely and it does bother me that I am in this predicament. But I dont dwell on it, because I know it will resolve itself.

Displaying a composure well beyond his years and a vast repertory of power backhands, Ashe remained among the top-five-ranked tennis stars internationally between 1969 and 1975. Observers noted his relaxed demeanor on the court and the calm but grim determination that often unnerved his more volatile opponents. Few in the audience realized that Ashe was far more emotional than he seemed. Before important matches he would sometimes be stricken with nervous stomach cramps; Ashe has since admitted that he wishes he could have been more free with his feelings during those crucial years.

Ashe turned professional in 1969 and played numerous important matches throughout the following decade. His game peaked in 1975 when he won both the prestigious Wimbledon Singles championship and the World Championship Tennis Singles. By that time the changing racial climate had improved sports opportunities for black athletes and Ashe was hailed as a pioneer in his field: He was the first black man to win at Wimbledon and the first to receive a number-one ranking internationally.

Suffered Major Heart Attack

In 1979, at the age of thirty-five, Ashe suffered a major heart attack. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery, vowing to return to tennis as soon as he healed. Upon recovery, however, he still suffered chest pains and was threatened with further surgery. He announced his retirement from tennis in April of 1980. An athlete retires twice, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune. The first time is when they dont renew your contract. But for a couple of years afterwards you still think you could get in shape again and play another season or two. Then one day you look in the mirror and the reality finally sinks in that its time to find something else to do with the rest of your life.

So Arthur Ashe the tennis star became Arthur Ashe the author, lecturer, and social critic. Few former athletes of any race have put their college educations to greater use than has Ashe. In 1982 he was invited to give a seminar on the history of blacks in sports at Florida Memorial College. When he went to the library to research the topic, he found very little documentation of black accomplishment in professional sports, especially before the days of Negro League baseball. Investing $250,000 of his own money and several years in the process of research and writing, Ashe produced A Hard Road to Glori;, a three-volume comprehensive history of Americas black athletes. The project was a natural, Ashe told the Chicago Tribune, since it brought both sides of me, the bookish and the sports-minded, together. Once I made the decision to do it, I had to go at the book the way Ive always done thingsthe way our teachers at Maggie Walker High School insisted uponall out, with everything Ive got. A Hard Road to Glory received critical acclaim and went into a second printing. It earned Ashe a number of honorary doctorates from the nations universities and even an Emmy award when it was produced as a television documentary.

Authority on Minorities in Sports

Today Ashe is recognized as an important spokesman on the issues of minorities in collegiate and professional athletics. He serves as a television commentator at tennis matches, a sports consultant at tennis clinics, and writes columns for the Washington Post. Having had two heart attacks and undergone brain surgery, Ashe guards his health with great care. He told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that heart disease changes your diet, it changes your stress level, it changes the way you work. Ashe has also served as campaign chairman for the American Heart Association.

A dedicated family man, Ashe lives with his wife and daughter near New York City. He also retains close ties to his brother and sister, who live in the South. Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Claude Lewis described Arthur Ashe as a world-class athlete and a world-class man. Reflecting on his career both on the court and since, Ashe told the Richmond Times-Dispatch: I guess I appreciate the fact some people take my views seriously. Im in a stage of my life in which I have confidence in my opinions. I have the experience and the courage and the background to say some things about some subjects I feel I have expertise in. He continued: I feel Ive made a small contribution to American history. And Tve definitely plugged a huge gap in the knowledge of African-American history. It is an incredible history of achievement. African-American athletes outdid themselves. The same can certainly be said of Arthur Ashe.

Selected writings

(With Frank DeFord) Portrait in Motion, Houghten, 1975. Arthur Ashes Tennis Clinic, illustrations by Jim McQueen,

Golf Digest/Tennis Magazine, 1981. (With Neil Amdur) Off the Court, New American Library, 1981.

A Hard Road to Glory, 3 volumes, Warner Books, 1988.

Sources

Chicago Tribune, November 28, 1988.

Life, October 15, 1965.

Newsday, February 12, 1991.

New York Times Magazine, January 2, 1966.

People, March 6, 1989.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 25, 1990.

Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 21, 1989.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 26, 1988.

Sports Illustrated, September 20, 1965; August 29, 1966.

Wichita Eagle, February 21, 1990.

Mark Kram

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Kram, Mark. "Ashe, Arthur 1943—." Contemporary Black Biography. 1992. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Kram, Mark. "Ashe, Arthur 1943—." Contemporary Black Biography. 1992. Retrieved June 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2870300011.html

Ashe, Arthur

Arthur Ashe

Born: July 10, 1943
Richmond, Virginia
Died: February 6, 1993
New York, New York

African American tennis player and activist

Arthur Ashe was the first African American player to compete in the international sport of tennis at the highest level of the game. After an early retirement from sports due to heart surgery, Ashe used his sportsman profile and legendary poise to promote human rights, education, and public health.

Early years

Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was born on July 10, 1943, in Richmond, Virginia. He spent most of his early years with his mother, Mattie Cordell Cunningham Ashe, who taught him to read at age five. She died the next year of heart disease. Ashe's father, Arthur Ashe Sr., worked as a caretaker for a park named Brook Field in suburban North Richmond. Young Arthur lived on the grounds with four tennis courts, a pool, and three baseball diamonds. This was the key to his development as a future star athlete. His early nickname was "Skinny" or "Bones," but he grew up to be six feet one inch with a lean build.

Ashe began playing tennis at age six. He received instruction from R. Walter "Whirlwind" Johnson, an African American doctor from Lynchburg, Virginia, who opened his home in the summers to tennis prospects, including the great Althea Gibson (1927). Johnson used military-style methods to teach tennis skills and to stress his special code of sportsmanship, which included respect, sharp appearance, and "no cheating at any time."

An amateur tennis player

Ashe attended Richmond City Public Schools and received a diploma from Maggie L. Walker High School in 1961. After success as a junior player in the American Tennis Association (ATA), he was the first African American junior to receive a U.S. Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) national ranking. When he won the National Interscholastics in 1960, it was the first USLTA national title won by an African American in the South. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) awarded him a full scholarship.

In 1963 Ashe became the first African American player to win the U.S. Men's Hard-court championships, and the first to be named to a U.S. Junior Davis Cup (an international men's tournament) team. He became the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) singles and doubles champion, leading UCLA to the NCAA title in 1965. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Ashe served in the army for two years, during which he was assigned time for tennis competitions. In 1968 Ashe created a tennis program for U.S. inner cities. This was the beginning of today's U.S. Tennis Association/National Junior Tennis League program, with five hundred chapters running programs for 150 thousand kids.

As professional tennis player

Two events changed Ashe's life in the late 1960s. The first was the protest by African American athletes at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, Mexico, in opposition to separation based on race, or apartheid, in the Republic of South Africa. The second event was in tennis. He was the USLTA amateur champion and won the first U.S. Open Tennis Championship at Forest Hills. The USLTA ranked him co-number one (with Rod Laver). He became a top money-winner after turning professional in 1969. In 1972 he helped found the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

In 1973 Ashe became the first African American to reach the South African Open finals held in Johannesburg, South Africa, and he was the doubles winner with Tom Okker of the Netherlands. Black South Africans gave Ashe the name "Sipho," which means "a gift from God" in Zulu. The year 1975 was Ashe's best and most consistent season. He was the first and only African American player to win the men's singles title at Wimbledon, beating the defending champion, Jimmy Connors. Ashe was ranked number one in the world and was named ATP Player of the Year.

In 1977 Ashe married Jeanne Moutoussamy, a professional photographer and graphic artist. The couple had a daughter, Camera Elizabeth. Ashe almost defeated John McEnroe (1959) in the Masters final in New York in January 1979, and was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon that summer before a heart attack soon after the tournament ended his career. After heart surgery Ashe announced his retirement from competitive tennis.

As international role model

After retiring from competition, Ashe served as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team and led it to consecutive victories (198182). Ashe received media attention for his Davis Cup campaigns, his protests against apartheid in South Africa, and his call for higher educational standards for all athletes. But he spent most of his time dealing quietly with the "real world" through public speaking, teaching, writing, business, and public service. Ashe helped develop: the ABC Cities program, combining tennis and academics; the Safe Passage Foundation for poor children, which includes tennis training; the Athletes Career Connection; the Black Tennis & Sports Foundation, to assist minority athletes; and 15-Love, a substance abuse program.

After heart surgery in 1983 Ashe became national campaign chairman for the American Heart Association and the only nonmedical member of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Advisory Council. In the late 1970s he become an adviser to Aetna Life & Casualty Company. He was made a board member in 1982. He represented minority concerns and, later, the causes of the sick.

Ashe was elected to the UCLA Sports Hall of Fame, the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, and the Eastern Tennis Association Hall of Fame. He became the first person named to the U.S. Professional Tennis Association Hall of Fame. He spent six years and $300,000 of his own money to write A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete, a three-volume work published in 1988. Ashe won an Emmy Award for writing a television version of his work. He also worked as a broadcaster at tennis matches, sports consultant at tennis clinics, and columnist for the Washington Post.

Later years

After brain surgery in 1988 came the discovery that Ashe had been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS, a fatal disease that attacks the body's immune system). Doctors traced the infection back to a blood transfusion he received after his second heart operation in 1983. After going public with the news in 1992, Ashe established the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS to provide treatment to AIDS patients and to promote AIDS research throughout the world. He rallied professional tennis to help raise funds and to increase public awareness of the disease. He addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on World AIDS Day, December 1, 1992.

Arthur Ashe died on February 6, 1993, in New York City. As Ashe's body lay in state at the governor's mansion in Virginia, mourners paid their respects at a memorial service held in New York City and at the funeral at the Ashe Athletic Center in Richmond. In 1996 Ashe's hometown of Richmond announced plans to erect a statue in his honor. The following year a new stadium at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, was named after him.

For More Information

Ashe, Arthur, and Arnold Rampersad. Days of Grace: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

Lazo, Caroline. Arthur Ashe. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1999.

Martin, Marvin. Arthur Ashe: Of Tennis & the Human Spirit. New York: Franklin Watts, 1999.

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"Ashe, Arthur." UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437500052.html

Ashe, Arthur Robert

Arthur Robert Ashe, 1943–93, American tennis player, b. Richmond, Va. Ashe rose from his hometown's public courts to become the first African-American male to reach prominence in tennis. He won the 1965 intercollegiate singles championship while at the Univ. of California at Los Angeles. Denied a visa by South Africa on racial grounds in 1970, Ashe forced the issue, appearing before the United Nations and urging the World Tennis Union to expel South Africa because of its apartheid policy. Noted for his grace, hard-hit topspin, and outstanding backhand, Ashe won the 1968 U.S. Open, the 1970 Australian Open, and the 1975 Wimbledon title. He retired as a player following a 1979 heart attack, but continued to serve as the U.S. Davis Cup captain. In 1992 he announced that he had acquired AIDS from a heart operation years earlier. He remained an active spokesperson on many issues, including race relations and AIDS, until his death.

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Moog, Robert (Arthur)

Moog, Robert (Arthur) (b Flushing, NY, 1934). Amer. audio-engineer and inventor. Pres., Moog Mus. Inc., Williamsville, NY. Invented and patented Moog synthesizer (1965), manufactured by his co., which greatly increased options open to composers of elec. mus.

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MICHAEL KENNEDY and JOYCE BOURNE. "Moog, Robert (Arthur)." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. 27 Jun. 2016 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

MICHAEL KENNEDY and JOYCE BOURNE. "Moog, Robert (Arthur)." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. 1996. Encyclopedia.com. (June 27, 2016). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O76-MoogRobertArthur.html

MICHAEL KENNEDY and JOYCE BOURNE. "Moog, Robert (Arthur)." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. 1996. Retrieved June 27, 2016 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O76-MoogRobertArthur.html

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