By Patrice Shields
Althea Gibson, a truant from the rough streets of Harlem, emerged as a most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world of the 1950’s and went on to win Wimbledon in 1957 with tennis partner Angela Buxton. Tuesday, April 12, 7:00pm, tennis champion Angela Buxton hosts the question and answer session following the screening of the documentary of Gibson’s life “Althea,” at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs (CPABS) Moe Auditorium and Film Center.
Althea’s life and achievements transcend Sports. Her roots as a sharecropper’s daughter, her family’s migration north to Harlem in the 30’s, her mentoring from Sugar Ray Robinson, David Dinkins and others and her fame that thrust her unwillingly into the glare of the early Civil Rights movement, all bring the story into a much broader realm of African-American History.
In 1951, she became the first African American to play Wimbledon. Later, she would become also the first African American woman to play professional golf. In 1980 Gibson became one of the first six inductees into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, placing her on par with such pioneers as Amelia Earhart, Wilma Rudolph, Gertrude Ederle, Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and Patty Berg. Gibson set the stage for future minority players including Serena and Venus Williams.
“I am honored to have followed in such great footsteps,” wrote Venus Williams. “Her accomplishments set the stage for my success, and through players like myself and Serena and many others to come, her legacy will live on.”
In 1955 Althea Gibson was selected by the US State Department to participate in the same United States Lawn Tennis Association-sponsored event where she met her future doubles partner Angela Buxton. Urged by her coach, Buxton reached out to Gibson to be her doubles partner at the French Championships and Wimbledon. As a Jewish player, Buxton was also treated as an outsider in the tennis world in the 1950’s. After the pair won Wimbledon, a British newspaper headlined a report, “Minorities Win.”
The screening of the film offers an opportunity to meet Wimbledon Champion Angela Buxton and join her for a question and answer session following the film.
Tickets for “Althea,” are $15 and can be purchased by calling the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 or at the door the evening of the film.
Southern Circuit brings the best of independent film to communities across the South. CFABS is one of 18 Southern communities screening Southern Circuit films this season. Southern Circuit screenings are funded in part by a grant from South Arts, a regional arts organization, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.
Those who join the Centers for the Arts for the first before time as an individual member receive two VIP tickets to a select Live at the Center performance. The Centers for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members for select performances. This offer is valid through May 31, 2016.
The Centers for the Arts offers a full performance series including “Mama Cooks it Up,” April 9, 7:30pm, “Helios Swingtet Big Band Orchestra,” April 15, 8:00pm, “Patchouli & Terra Guitar: The Landscape of Guitar,” April 22, 8:00pm and “Films for Film Lovers” foreign and independent film series on Monday evenings. Tickets for all of the events listed can be purchased at http://www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989.
IF YOU GO:
WHO: The Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs
WHAT: “Althea” Screening and Discussion with Wimbledon Champion Angela Buxton
WHEN: Tuesday, April 12, 2016; 7:00pm
WHERE:Center for Performing Arts–Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
COST: Tickets: $15