The Jackie Robinson of Tennis Is….

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The Washington Post has a list of “36 Must-See Items” at the newly-opened Museum of African American History and Culture, and the accompanying picture included a tennis racket. I clicked the link, hoping it was the right tennis racket, and was pleased to see that it was:

I don’t want to pretend that Althea Gibson has been lost to history or anything like that, but she unquestionably plays second fiddle to Arthur Ashe when the topic is African-American tennis players. But with all due respect to Ashe, who was a great player and a champion of civil rights, Gibson did it all first. She broke into tennis in 1950, fifteen years before Ashe. She won five grand-slam singles titles to Ashe’s three, and almost certainly would have won many more if she’d been wealthy enough to continue playing amateur tennis. She was the Jackie Robinson of tennis, but there’s no Althea Gibson Stadium at the National Tennis Center.

As I said, Gibson is hardly invisible. Nonetheless, she deserves to be a lot better known than she is.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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