The daughter of sharecroppers, Althea Gibson became a tennis sensation in the 1950s. Her 1956 triumph at the French Tennis Championships (later know as the French Open) made her the first black woman ever to win a major singles title. She went on to win five total Grand Slam titles.
Aside from her success, she is most remembered for breaking the color barrier in professional tennis. She later toured as a celebrity with the Harlem Globetrotters and played on the LPGA tour. Gibson was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.