Arthur Ashe was the first black man to win the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. Civil rights leader and charity worker, he used his position as the number one player to promote justice. His story is often considered the most legendary in sport history and this video tells us just how many odds were stacked against him.
At the time the country’s government enforced a strict policy of racial segregation called Apartheid. Because of this they denied him a South African visa despite his number 1 U.S. ranking.
He continued to keep applying for visas, and the country continued to deny him. In protest he used this example of discrimination to campaign for the expulsion of the nation from the International Lawn Tennis Federation. This was the beginning of his activism against Apartheid, which would become a central issue to him for the next two decades.
The main stadium at Flushing Meadows in New York, the home of the US Open, is named in Arthur Ashe’s honour.