The U.S. Postal Service revealed a new commemorative stamp Friday that honors a famous African-American sports trailblazer from South Carolina. The late Althea Gibson was the first of either gender to break the tennis color barrier in the mid-1950s.
Friday’ event at the South Carolina State Museum honored Gibson, who was born in the tiny town of Silver just outside of Manning in Clarendon County. While she moved with her parents to New York three years later, much of her extended family still remains in the Palmetto State.
Gibson made her international tennis debut in 1950 at age 23. But that only came after after several years of frustration and intense lobbying from the American Tennis Association (where she had won 10 straight titles). Once admitted, she eventually went on to win at all four of the sport’s top events, known as the “Grand Slam.” Gibson won the French Open in 1956, and then Wimbledon, the U.S. Open (then called the “U.S. Nationals”), and the Australian Open doubles the following year. She won 11 Grand Slam titles over the course of her career, with the last coming in 1958.