Tennis Legend Althea Gibson Profiled on American Masters

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Althea Gibson, approx. 1957 Courtesy Johnson Family Archives Althea Gibson, approx. 1957. Photo courtesy Johnson Family Archives.

Sometimes it’s best to turn a blind eye to a film’s missteps and focus instead on the relevance and timeliness of its subject matter. That’s definitely the case with Althea, the latest installment in PBS THIRTEEN’s American Masters’ series premiering tonight, Friday, September 4, 9:00 – 10:30 p.m. ET/PT (Check local listings for air times in your region).

Programmed to coincide with the U.S. Open currently underway in Flushing, NY, Althea pays long overdue attention to tennis trailblazer Althea Gibson (1927-2003), the first African-American to play at and win the U.S. Nationals (1957 & 1958) and Wimbledon (1957 and 1958).  The U.S. Nationals were a precursor of the U.S. Open.

Without the trail blazed heroically by Althea Gibson during the 1950’s and 1960’s when African-Americans, and women for that matter, faced an uphill battle to be taken seriously on the court, join the tour and be financially…

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