NEW YORK, Aug. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first African American tennis player to win the US Open, the same tournament that just a few years earlier prohibited her from playing because of her color. The year before, Gibson became the first African American player to win Wimbledon when she teamed with Angela Buxton, a Jewish player from England who dealt with her own obstacles in the sport based on her religion.
The new documentary "Althea and Angela: A Perfect Match" follows the tennis careers and friendship of Althea Gibson, an African American from Harlem and Angela Buxton, a Jewish player from England. Their victory on Center Court at Wimbledon was a breakthrough in a game where their race and religion had made them outcasts. "It's amazing that no one had asked Althea to play doubles until Angela did," said tennis analyst Bud Collins.
"My legacy is definitely ant-racism because I was playing with a black player who the audience didn't really want to see," said Buxton. "They were teaching the world to do the right thing, no matter what," said Billie Jean King.
The film features archival footage and interviews with tennis legend Billie Jean King, tennis analyst Bud Collins, former NYC Mayor David Dinkins and Wimbledon Champion Angela Buxton who is also co-producer of the film.
Gibson (1927-2003) was honored this week with the release of a stamp by the US Postal Service for helping to integrate tennis in the midst of the civil rights movement.
"In the 1950s, if someone was both black and female, that's a hell of a mountain to climb," said former NYC Mayor David Dinkins. Wimbledon finalist Mali Vai adds, "If she was looking for a black role model in the sport of tennis, she was not going to find it. She was that role model."
"People think Arthur Ashe was the first black player to win the US Open and Wimbledon, he was not the first. Althea was the first. She played twenty years before Arthur Ashe," said Buxton.
Buxton, now in her 70s, and living between the US and England continues to write about tennis and she develops younger players to prepare them for the tennis circuit. Buxton continued a life-long friendship with Gibson until her death in 2003.
About Figaro Films
The documentary film, produced by Angela Buxton, Betsy Blankenbaker and Rachel Violet, will be launched on iTunes and Vimeo September 8, 2013. Angela Buxton is available for interviews in NYC or at the US Open Tennis center Aug 31-September 6. To book an interview with Angela Buxton or receive a press screening of the film, please contact Betsy Blankenbaker.
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SOURCE Figaro Films