Arthur Ashe, Jr. born on July 10, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia, is the first Black person to win the men’s singles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and the first Black American to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, or the Australian Open.
Ashe was also 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 Embassy of South Africa, Washington, D.C. during an anti-apartheid rally. He was arrested again on September 9, 1992, outside the White House for protesting on the recent crackdown on Haitian refugees. In fact Ashe was an activist all way up to the end of his life. When he learned that he had contracted AIDS via a blood transfusion, he turned his efforts to raising awareness of the disease, before finally succumbing to it on February 6, 1993.
Ashe was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton on June 20, 1993.