It is really a shame that so many people remember Arthur Ashe as “the black tennis player that died from AIDS.”
To say that the man was so much more would simply be an understatement.
Most biographies of famous players always seem to start out with where the person was born, who their parents were, etc. That is in large part due to the significance of those facts in shaping a person’s life.
This article is no different.
Arthur Robert Ashe Jr. was born to Arthur Sr. and Mattie Ashe in 1943. The family lived in Richmond, Va., and Ashe’s father’s job as “Superintendent” provided him with a Caretaker’s Cottage in Brook Park, a “blacks only” area that coincidentally included tennis courts.
Arthur Jr. had been playing tennis for about a year when his mother passed away. Mattie had gone into the hospital for a simple surgery and contracted Toxemia—a form of blood poisoning—and died at the age of 27.
Ashe was just six years old.
A similar fate would befall Arthur, many years later.
Ashe was devastated by Mattie&r...
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