I Always Wanted To Be Somebody

Althea Gibson

Althea became the first black player to win the U.S. Nationals in 1957.

I always wanted to be somebody. I guess that's why I kept running away from home when I was a kid even though I took some terrible whippings for it.

It's why I took to tennis right away and kept working at it, even though I was the wildest tomboy you ever saw and my strong likings were a mile away from what the tennis people wanted me to do.

It's why I've been willing to live like a gypsy all these years, always being a guest in other people's houses and doing things the way they said, even though what I've always craved is to live the way I want to in a place of my own with nobody to answer to but myself.

It's why, ever since I was a wild, arrogant girl in my teens, playing stickball and basketball and baseball and paddle tennis and even football in the streets in the daytime and hanging around bowling alleys half the night, I've worshiped Sugar Ray Robinson.

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Althea Gibson: I Always Wanted To Be Somebody

I Always Wanted To Be Somebody is the intimate and candid story of a girl who grew up in the asphalt environs of Harlem, skipping school, drinking hard liquor, stealing and fist-fighting, but went on to break the color barrier in tennis and achieving the pinnacle of the sport by winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and becoming an inspiration for many future champions such as Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams, among many others.

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