Althea Gibson Memorial

  • Althea-Gibson-Statue-WWP

Place Category: Memorial & StatuePlace Tags: Places in NJ

  • Description

    The larger-than-life statue of Althea Gibson (1927-2003) stands in the Althea Gibson Tennis Center in Branch Brook Park, Newark, New Jersey, since March 28th, 2012, in the same tennis courts the elite tennis player taught after she retired from professional tennis. It was created by Thomas Jay Warren.
    Gibson was the first American tennis and golf player who broke the race barrier in professional sports and won the most prestigious titles while making several Firsts on the way.
    Gibson was born on a farm in rural South Carolina, and at the age of 3, the family moved to Harlem, NY. There, she started playing paddle tennis, and by 12, she won the New York City women’s paddle tennis championship. She joined a tennis club, and although tennis was not her passion from the beginning, she realized she has a gift. She won national ATA girls and then women’s titles several times, and with the help of people who believed in her talent, she started to practice professionally, competing in the National Championships, sometimes as the first black athlete.
    In 1956, Gibson won her Grand Slam tournament, the first African-American athlete to win the title. Overall, she won 5 Grand Slam titles and 51 national and international titles. In 1958, Gibson retired due to financial struggles, since in the old days, being a professional tennis player was not a profitable profession. She played professional golf for several years and directed the recreation department in New Jersey.
    Another statue of Althea Gibson stands in Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York.
    The statue and tennis courts stand at beautiful Essex County Branch Brook Park, do not miss a stroll in its trails.

    Althea Gibson: First Black Tennis Champion - Fast Facts | History

    Althea Gibson was a trailblazer in the enormously segregated sport of tennis. Find out more about her achievements and influence in this video.

    Explore the life of Althea Gibson:

    Listen to live coverage of Gibson's '57 Wimbledon victory:

    This Day in History: July 6, 1957:

    Learn more about the accomplishments of black women in sports:

    Celebrate Black history today and every day:

    Stay up to date on history in the headlines:

    Check out exclusive HISTORY content:
    Website -
    Google + -
    Facebook -

    HISTORY Topical Video
    Season 1
    Episode 1

    Whether you're looking for more on American Revolution battles, WWII generals, architectural wonders, secrets of the ancient world, U.S. presidents, Civil War leaders, famous explorers or the stories behind your favorite holidays, get the best of HISTORY with exclusive videos on our most popular topics.

    HISTORY®, now reaching more than 98 million homes, is the leading destination for award-winning original series and specials that connect viewers with history in an informative, immersive, and entertaining manner across all platforms. The network’s all-original programming slate features a roster of hit series, epic miniseries, and scripted event programming. Visit us at for more info.
  • More Info
    Address: Althea Gibson Tennis Center in Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ 07104
  • Watch and Learn More

  • Map

    No Records Found

    Sorry, no records were found. Please adjust your search criteria and try again.

    Google Map Not Loaded

    Sorry, unable to load Google Maps API.


  • Photo credit - WWP team