Arthur Robert Ashe was an African American tennis player who won three Grand Slam titles. He is the first black man to ever win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1975, the US Open in 1968, and the Australian Open in 1970. Born in Richmond Virginia, on July 10th, 1943 Arthur Ashe and his brother, were raised by their father Arthur Ashe senior, after their mother passed due to pregnancy complications. Arthur Ashe senior encouraged his children to succeed in both school and sports.

Visit for more information

Ashe began playing tennis at 7 years old and started rehearsing on the courts where his characteristic ability was spotted Ron Charity, a Virginia University student, and part-time tennis instructor. He started to show Ashe the fundamental strokes and urged him to enter local neighborhood competitions.

From 1953 to 1960, Ashe was coached by Robert Walter Johnson, the coach of Althea Gibson. Johnson helped calibrate Ashe’s technique and showed him the significance of racial socialization through sportsmanship. In 1958 Arthur Ashe became the first African American to play in the Maryland boys championships, this would be his first integrated tennis competition.


In December 1960 and again in 1963, Ashe was highlighted in Sports Illustrated, showing up in their Faces in the Crowd segment. After becoming the first African American to win the National Junior Indoor tennis title, he was granted a tennis scholarship to UCLA. At this point Ashe would turn into the first African American player ever selected for the United States Davis Cup team, positioning himself as the #3 player in the United States in 1965. Ashe won both the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles title and the doubles title alongside Ian Crookenden, helping UCLA win the team NCAA tennis championship.

In the mid-1980s, Ashe is suspected to have contracted HIV from a blood transfusion he got during a heart medical procedure. Ashe announced his illness to the public in April 1992 and started teaching the public about HIV and AIDS. He established The Arthur Ashe Foundation and the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health before his passing from AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49.