Arthur Ashe, born on July 10, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia, was the first African-American to win the men’s Tennis singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. open. He is also the first African-American to be ranked as the number one in the world as a male tennis player.
Ashe has many records of being the first. He is the first African-American to be engaged by the U.S. Davis Cup team, and he continued to prune his skills, gaining attention of tennis idol, Pancho Gonzales, who helped Ashe to hone his serve-and-volley attack. In 1985, Ashe also became the first African-American man to be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Beyond the tennis, Ashe became a voice that spoke against apartheid in South Africa with passion to the extent that he lobbied for a visa so as to be able to visit and play tennis there.He also served as the national campaign chairman of the American Heart Association, which was preceded by the heart attack he suffered in 1979. All of the causes he stood for were as a result of his own personal story, especially his health.
On February 6, 1993, Ashe died in New York City, from AIDS-related pneumonia. He contracted AIDS through the transfusion of HIV infected blood, which was administered to him during his second heart surgery.