"Althea & Arthur"
documentary to premiere
February 14, 2019
A documentary chronicling the legacies of Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the first African-Americans to cross the color barrier of international tennis, will debut on Monday, Feb. 18, at 9 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network.
“Althea & Arthur,” a one-hour special narrated by award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, highlights the significant impact Gibson and Ashe made, not just in tennis but also in advancing civil rights in the U.S. during a time of racism and segregation. The film explores the dichotomy of Ashe as a revered civil rights icon and a “citizen of the world,” while Gibson remains largely forgotten, even after winning 11 total Grand Slam titles and integrating a second sport – professional golf – when her tennis career ended.ADVERTISEMENT
Several of the leading voices in tennis are featured in the documentary, including Venus Williams, a 23-time (overall) Grand Slam champion; tennis icon Billie Jean King; Katrina Adams, immediate past president of the USTA; Angela Buxton, Gibson’s doubles partner when she won the 1956 French Open and Wimbledon titles; Cecil Harris, author of “Charging The Net – A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sisters”; and Johnnie Ashe, Arthur Ashe’s brother.
The documentary also highlights a group of girls from the One Love Tennis group in Wilmington, N.C., the city that Gibson called home during her high school years. The girls led a successful campaign to build an Althea Gibson memorial at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center, home of the US Open, in Flushing, N.Y.