Sports | East Orange (1927 – 2003)
Born August 25, 1927 in Silver, SC, Althea Gibson grew up in Harlem. A trailblazing athlete, Gibson is often referred to as “Jackie Robinson of tennis.” She won 56 singles and doubles titles during her amateur career in the 1950s before gaining international and national acclaim as a pro. Gibson won 11 major titles in the late 1950s, including singles titles at the French open. In 1957, she was the first African American to be voted by the Associated Press as its Female Athlete of the Year. She won the honor again in 1958. She became New Jersey State Commissioner of Athletics in 1975, a post she held for 10 years. She then served on the State’s Athletics Control Board until 1988 and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness until 1992. Gibson died at East Orange General Hospital in 2003 at the age of 76.