Black History Month: Who Gave Coco Gauff the Courage to Take a Stand? Hear About The American’s Biggest Inspiration

Published 02/06/2024, 8:34 AM EST

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American tennis star Coco Gauff comes from a family of athletes and activists. She finds joy on the tennis court and her voice off it. The 19-year-old tennis sensation is known for raising her voice to defend what she feels is right, be it on the court or outside of it. There have been several instances where Gauff was seen reflecting her inner courage to the rest of the world. 

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Demanding justice at a Black Lives Matter rally and speaking against anti-LGBTQ laws in her home state Florida are just a few examples. Even during a match at the US Open last year, Coco Gauff confronted the umpire for treating her unfairly. But who gave her the strength and courage to be so outspoken? Well, she believes her grandmother inspired her to speak out about vital issues on social media.

Who is Coco Gauff’s grandmother?

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Coco Gauff’s grandmother, Yvonne Lee Odom was the first Black student to attend Seacrest High School in Florida. She was integrated into the school in 1961 at 15 years of age. Reflecting on the challenging moments Odom went through, Gauff said, “She’s the sole, or one of the main, reasons why I use my platform the way that I do and why I feel so comfortable speaking out. For those who don’t know. She was the first Black person to go to what was then called Seacrest High School. That happened, like, six months after Ruby Bridges did her integration. She had to deal with a lot of…racial injustice.

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Adding to that she said, “For her to go through what she did during that time [makes me think that] putting out a tweet or saying a speech is so easy compared to that. That’s why I have no problem doing the things that I do. She always reminds me that I’m a person first instead of an athlete.

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Even her parents had to go through a lot of hardships to put her where she is today, and Gauff always shares those stories of struggle that her family had gone through to witness these moments of glory through their ‘Supergirl.’ Coco Gauff is not just an inspiration to all Americans, but also to the rest of the world.

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As the country celebrates Black History Month, Gauff also had words of appreciation for the man who was at the beginning of it all.

Gauff paid a heartfelt tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

A few weeks ago Coco Gauff was seen celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by paying a heartfelt tribute to the American activist and political philosopher, who was one of the most prominent leaders in the civil rights movement. Celebrated on the third Monday of January every year, parades, processions, and speeches by civil rights activists were once again present for MLK Day this year. And Coco Gauff was here for it.

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Martin Luther King Jr. fought a lifelong battle to achieve equal rights for all Black people in America through non-violent resistance. Commemorating his contributions to the nation Coco Gauff put up a story on Instagram on MLK Day. She wrote, “Because of them we can.” His fight against injustice has been the source of millions like Coco Gauff to raise their voice against inequality.

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy

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One take at a time

Tennis has been my passion since my childhood. My sheer love and enthusiasm for the racket sport has been a major influence in me wanting to build a career in sports journalism. Additionally, being a die-hard Real Madrid fan makes me more connected to my tennis idol-Rafael Nadal, who himself is a huge Los Blancos fan and a contender to become its next President.
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Edited by:

Arunima Bhanot

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