NEW YORK (WCBD)- A block in Harlem, New York where groundbreaking tennis star Althea Gibson grew up will now bear her name.
On Thursday, what would have been Gibson’s 95th birthday, a portion of 143rd Street was renamed Althea Gibson Way.
“She was a trendsetter, a trailblazer, a record-setter, and a history maker,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said during the ceremony. “Every time the next generation looks up at that street sign, they’re going to know that a giant, Althea Gibson, lived right here.”
Gibson was born to sharecroppers in Clarendon County in 1927 to sharecroppers. When the cotton market collapsed in the latter part of the decade, Gibson and her family relocated to Harlem. That is where she first picked up a tennis racket.
Nearly thirty years later, in 1956, she would become the first African American to win a Grand Slam event taking first place in the French Championship. The following year, she became the first African American to win England’s famed Wimbledon tournament.
By the time she retired from amateur tennis in 1959, Gibson had claimed 11 Grand Slam titles and was the first Black woman to be ranked the No. 1 player in the world.
Tennis greats like Billie Jean King are also remembering Gibson and her lasting legacy on what would have been her birthday.
“She changed my life at 13 by showing me what World No. 1 looked like. She broke the color barrier in tennis as the first Black person to win a major. She succeeded despite so much adversity. Today Althea Gibson would have turned 95. Let’s remember her always,” King shared on Twitter.
In April, a club court at the newly renovated Credit One Stadium on Daniel Island was rededicated in her honor.
A life-sized statue of a teenage Althea is expected to be erected near the Harlem block to go along with the renaming.