Charging the Net: A History of Blacks in Tennis from Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe to the Williams Sistersby Cecil Harrist, Larryette Kyle-DeBose, James Blake, Robert Ryland (Afterword), Larryette Kyle-Debose
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.
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.
Adult/High School-Even for readers not familiar with the Williams sisters and their impact on tennis, this book could be a real treat. The title says it all. The detailed, yet highly accessible history of blacks in tennis from the 1940s to the present is also the story of the modern game from a new viewpoint. Players from Australia, Africa, and France are included, as well as African Americans. Through extensive research and interviews, the sometimes shameful behavior of the United States Tennis Association and the triumphs and continuous struggle of blacks to achieve equality in the predominantly white, often elitist tennis world are described with passion. This book will appeal to teens interested in black athletes' contributions to sports, in tennis generally, or in sports facts. It is well documented and may be read for pleasure or for assignments. It also portrays new role models for succeeding in sports and in life, while struggling with discrimination.-Deirdre Cerkanowicz, Berkeley Public Library, CACopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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