Monday, August 25, 2014
Images from the Past: Althea Gibson
You might have noticed that today's "Google doodle" honors Althea Gibson, the women's tennis great, who was born on this date in 1927. Here's an interesting profile of her life and career. I was intrigued to note that prior to her first major tournament win at the French Open in 1956, she was sent by her sponsor, the United States Lawn Tennis Association, on a U.S. State Department-sponsored world tour. Gibson competed in places such as India, Pakistan, and Burma. Not coincidentally, nations like these were among the "non-aligned" states that the U.S. and the Soviet Union so assiduously courted during the Cold War years. American racism impacted Gibson significantly -- and it also impacted U.S. foreign policy. State Department tours like this one in 1955 aimed to counteract the justifiably poor reputation the United States suffered for its backward race relations.