Charging the Net: A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sisters

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Ivan R. Dee, 2007 - Social Science - 267 pages
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With every powerful serve and deft ground stroke, with every graceful volley and determined charge to the net, black tennis players, from Hall of Famers Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Evonne Goolagong, and Yannick Noah to future legends James Blake and the sisters Venus and Serena Williams, have forced open the sport's shuttered gates and demanded to be acknowledged. In Charging the Net, Cecil Harris and Larryette Kyle-DeBose draw on personal interviews and extensive research to chronicle the triumphs-and humiliations-of blacks in professional tennis from the 1940s to the present. For many fans and writers, Ashe, Gibson, and the Williams sisters personify black achievement in tennis, but others have made their mark. Charging the Net spotlights a wide range of competitors as well as the American Tennis Association, an organization that thrived despite racial segregation, thanks to such benefactors as Dr. R. Walter Johnson. The book will also introduce readers to two black officials whose success was short-lived; both have sued the United States Tennis Association, alleging discrimination based on race, gender, and age. Harlem-trained, Harvard-educated James Blake, who overcame career-threatening injuries to achieve World Top Ten status, has written a foreword to Charging the Net. The afterword is written by Robert Ryland, the first black to compete in a major college tournament, who later found the doors to tennis's premier venues marked Whites Only. With a clear vision, Ryland, the eighty-six-year-old coach, now looks at how far blacks in tennis have come and how far they have yet to travel.

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Contents

He was exactly who we needed at the time
76
We were the only show in town
106
You tell me what the similarity is
124
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Cecil Harris is a veteran sports reporter who has covered the NHL for The Hockey News and The Sporting News. He covered the New York Rangers and New York Islanders for New York Newsday, and the Carolina Hurricanes for the Raleigh News and Observer. Breaking the Ice is his first book. Harris lives in Yonkers, NY, USA.

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