July 6, 1957: Althea Gibson won the Wimbledon championship, becoming the 1st black athlete to do so.
Gibson cruised through the opening rounds of the 1957 Wimbledon without losing a set. The final was similarly uneventful, as Gibson’s vicious ground strokes flustered Darlene Hard in every game. The entire match took only 50 minutes, she defeated Hard 6-3, 6-2.
After Queen Elizabeth presented the new champion with the trophy, Gibson, overcome with emotion, could only say: “At last! At last!”
Later that day, Gibson and Hard teamed up to capture the ladies’ doubles championship, thrashing Mary Hawton and Thelma Long of Australia, 6-1, 6-1.
Althea Gibson won both the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open titles in 1957 and 1958, and was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in both years. She was the 1st black woman ever to win the award.
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