Althea Gibson changed the world of tennis in 1950 when she became the first African American, male or female, to play at the U.S. Open, the national championships.
Then, in 1957, she became the first black player to win the singles championship at Wimbledon in England.
She was honored with a ticker-tape parade on her return. Also in 1957, Gibson became the first African American to win the singles at the U.S. Open.
Billie Jean King, who won the first of six Wimbledon singles championships in 1967, also changed the tennis world.
She called attention to the big difference in the prize money for male and female champions. Her efforts led the U.S. Open to equalize its prizes in 1973.
Also in 1973, King won a much publicized “Battle of the Sexes,” defeating the 1939 male Wimbledon champion, Bobby Riggs, in three easy sets.
Billie Jean King, winner of six women’s tennis Wimbledon titles, was one of the greatest female athletes of all time, as well as an outspoken supporter of equality for women tennis players.