Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr. (July 10, 1943 – February 6, 1993) was a professional tennis player, born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. During his career, he won three Grand Slam titles, putting him among the best ever from the United States. Ashe was the first black player ever selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man to ever win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or Australian Open. He is also remembered for his efforts to further social causes.
Ashe served in the US Army from 1966–68, reaching the rank of first lieutenant. On February 20, 1977, Ashe married Jeanne Moutoussamy, a photographer he had met four months earlier. Andrew Young, the US ambassador to the UN, performed the ceremony at the UN chapel in New York City. Arthur and Jeanne had one child together, a daughter, who was born on December 21, 1986. She was named Camera after her mother’s profession. Camera was only six years old when her father died.
Ashe, the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam event, was an active civil rights supporter. He was a member of a delegation of 31 prominent African-Americans who visited South Africa to observe political change in the country as it approached racial integration.
He was arrested on January 11, 1985, for protesting outside the South African embassy in Washington, DC during an anti-apartheid rally. He was also arrested again on September 9, 1992, outside the White House for protesting on the recent crackdown on Haitian refugees.
In 1979, Arthur Ashe was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. In commenting on his induction, the Hall noted that, ”Arthur Ashe was certainly a hero to people of all ages and races, and his legacy continues to touch the lives of many today. For Arthur Ashe, tennis was a means to an end. Although he had a lucrative tennis career, it was always more than personal glory and individual accolades. He used his status as an elite tennis player to speak out against the moral inequalities that existed both in and out of the tennis world. Ashe sincerely wanted to bring about change in the world. What made him stand out was that he became a world champion along the way.” In 1985, Ashe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.