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Tennis Hall Of Fame Celebrates Black History Month

Serena Williams By Richard Pagliaro

Arthur Ashe passed away on February 6th, 1993, but he continues to touch the lives of others. This month, Ashe, Althea Gibson and the Williams sisters are among the prominent players featured in the International Tennis Hall of Fame's celebration of Black History Month.

The Newport, Rhode Island-based Hall of Fame is offering special attractions and educational material in the Hall of Fame Museum this month. The Hall will show three feature films daily at 11:30 a.m. — an ESPN Classic Sports Century on Arthur Ashe, illustrating his tennis career and social activism; Citizen of the World, an HBO Special emphasizing Ashe's struggle to overcome racial discrimination; and a short film, The History of the American Tennis Association, focusing on African American involvement in tennis in the 1950s and ‘60s.

A special display case in the USTA Wing of the Museum pays tribute to prominent African American tennis players — Arthur Ashe, Althea Gibson, The Williams sisters, Zina Garrison, Malivai Washington, Chanda Rubin and Yonkers native and Davis Cup member James Blake, who learned to play tennis at the historic Harlem Tennis Center.

On display throughout the museum are numerous articles for viewing which pertain to Black History Month. Highlights include: the Arthur Ashe HEAD COMP II Tennis Racquet with which he won Wimbledon; a watercolor painting of Arthur Ashe; a Wheaties Cereal Box featuring Althea Gibson; historic videos featuring both Gibson and Ashe; and photographs, memorabilia and video segments of today's current superstars, Venus and Serena Williams.

A select bibliography is also available for avid readers. The International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 194 Bellevue Avenue, in historic Newport. Regular admission to the museum is $8 for adults and $4 for children (16 and under). Inquire at the admissions desk about the Tennis Hall of Fame's special discount offers. For more information regarding the Tennis Hall of Fame and its programs, please call (401) 849-3990.
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