Sally H. Jacobs discusses Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson, with Carey Goldberg

Sally H. Jacobs discusses Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson, with Carey Goldberg

Tuesday, August 15, 2023 - 7:00PM ET
Event address: 
Brookline Booksmith
279 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA 02446-2908

In person at Brookline Booksmith! Celebrate the release of Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson with author Sally H. Jacobs, in conversation with Carey Goldberg.


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Althea: The Life of Tennis Champion Althea Gibson

“A captivating book that brilliantly reveals an American sports legend long overlooked. Sally Jacobs tells the riveting story of Althea Gibson, my personal shero, who overcame daunting odds – on the tennis court and off - to stand at the world pinnacle of her sport and became an inspiration to many.” — Billie Jean King

In 1950, three years after Jackie Robinson first walked onto the diamond at Ebbets Field, the all-white, upper-crust US Lawn Tennis Association opened its door just a crack to receive a powerhouse player who would integrate "the game of royalty." The player was a street-savvy young Black woman from Harlem named Althea Gibson who was about as out-of-place in that rarefied and intolerant world as any aspiring tennis champion could be. Her tattered jeans and short-cropped hair drew stares from everyone who watched her play, but her astonishing performance on the court soon eclipsed the negative feelings being cast her way as she eventually became one of the greatest American tennis champions.

Gibson had a stunning career. Raised in New York and trained by a pair of tennis-playing doctors in the South, Gibson’s immense talent on the court opened the door for her to compete around the world. She won top prizes at Wimbledon and Forest Hills time and time again. The young woman underestimated by so many wound up shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth II, being driven up Broadway in a snowstorm of ticker tape, and ultimately became the first Black woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and the second to appear on the cover of Time. In a crowning achievement, Althea Gibson became the No. One ranked female tennis player in the world for both 1957 and 1958. Seven years later she broke the color barrier again where she became the first Black woman to join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

In Althea, prize-winning former Boston Globe reporter Sally H. Jacobs tells the heart-rending story of this pioneer, a remarkable woman who was a trailblazer, a champion, and one of the most remarkable Americans of the twentieth century.

Sally H. Jacobs is a former reporter for the Boston Globe, and winner of both the coveted George Polk Award and the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting with the Globe newsroom. She is the author of The Other Barack, a biography of Barack Obama’s father.

Brookline resident Carey Goldberg has held staff reporting jobs with The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, WBUR/NPR and Bloomberg News. As a Moscow correspondent for The LA Times, she was a Pulitzer finalist for coverage of the 1991 coup, and covered the collapse of the Soviet Union and its aftermath. Her latest book is The AI Revolution in Medicine: GPT-4 and Beyond.



This event will take place at street level. If possible, the event will be livestreamed to YouTube. ASL interpretation may be provided (based on the availability of interpreters) but must be requested at least 2 weeks in advance of the event. Seats are limited. Please email us at as soon as possible if you require ASL interpretation, guaranteed seating, or other accommodations. We will do our best to serve your needs!