Serving Herself: The Life and Times of Althea Gibson


Product Details

$29.95  $27.85
Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
6.53 X 9.28 X 1.64 inches | 2.53 pounds

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About the Author

Ashley Brown is Assistant Professor and the Allan H. Selig Chair in the History of Sport and Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is an expert on sport history, women's history, and African American history.


"Ashley Brown's riveting and truly stunning biography of Althea Gibson fills a gaping hole in the historical literature on the experiences and contributions of African American athletes. Brown's comprehensive and insightful account of Gibson's extraordinary odyssey-a life filled with both triumph and disappointment, ranging from the streets of Harlem to the hallowed tennis courts of Wimbledon and Forest Hills-offers an unblinking look at the challenges that racial and gender discrimination posed for even the most talented of African American women." -- Raymond Arsenault, author of Arthur Ashe: A Life

"Ashley Brown's critical feminist biography of Althea Gibson places her squarely-and queerly-at the center of mid-twentieth century American history. Thanks to a perfect match between subject and biographer, Althea Gibson will finally get the recognition and respect she craved and so often lacked during her lifetime." -- Susan Ware, author of Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women's Sports

"Tennis is a sport that imposes the rigid boundary of its rectangular court. The tennis champion Althea Gibson, however, devoted her life on and off the court to variously defying, finessing, transgressing, and transcending period norms of race, class, and gender. In this incisive, engaging biography, Ashley Brown both restores Gibson to her place in the athletic pantheon and unflinchingly illustrates the price she paid." -- Samuel G. Freedman, author of Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights

"What does it mean to be an individual when everyone else insists that you are foremost a representative of a category? Althea Gibson, one of the most important sports figures of the twentieth century, constantly juggled the challenges of breaking barriers in the elite worlds of tennis and golf and wanting to compete at the highest levels without the baggage that 'the first Black' and/or 'the first woman' routinely faced. Ashley Brown's comprehensive biography offers searing insight into the history of sports integration through the life of this scrutinized, underappreciated, and underpaid pioneer in Jim Crow America. It is crucial that we know and remember this not-so-distant history that paved the way for latter-day tennis stars like Serena Williams and Venus Williams." -- Tera W. Hunter, author of Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century