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Alice Marble

Alice integral to the Althea Gibson story, she was the first to publicly address the sport's segregation practices and challenge the establishment. She wrote her historic July 1, 1950 editorial in American Tennis Magazine. Marble denounced the all-white U.S. Lawn Tennis Association's policy of excluding African-Americans from competition.

Alice Marble

Alice Marble was an 18-time grand slam champion, winning five titles in singles, six in women’s doubles, and seven in mixed doubles. Through her dominance, she achieved the World No.1 ranking in 1939. She was also honored as the Associated Press Athlete of the Year twice.

After an impressive career as an amateur, Alice officially turned professional and continued to travel, compete, and participate in exhibition matches, earning more than $100,000. Alice Marble also was a fashion trendsetter. She dared to wear white shorts on the court in 1932, instead of the customary long skirt and restrictive, heavy clothing of the times. Such a fashion statement was considered outrageous, until function and practicality were accepted in female sports attire and ultimately revolutionized the standards for women's casual clothing.

Shortly after she retired from tennis, she took on a prominent role on the editorial advisory board of DC Comics and was credited with helping create Wonder Woman.

Alice was a key figure in helping to desegregate tennis.  When Althea Gibson was attempting to break into the ranks of professional tennis in the late 1940s, Alice wrote a very influential piece in American Lawn Tennis Magazine’s July 1, 1950, issue, where she asserted:

“If tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, it's also time we acted a little more like gentle people and less like sanctimonious hypocrites...If Althea Gibson represents a challenge to the present crop of women players, it's only fair that they should meet that challenge on the courts." Marble also stated, “If Gibson were not given the opportunity to compete, "then there is an ineradicable mark against a game to which I have devoted most of my life, and I would be bitterly ashamed."

Through her support, Althea was given entry into the 1950 US Open Championships, becoming the first African American tennis player to compete at a Grand Slam event.

Alice Marble
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