- Category : Tennis Player
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (29,32,34)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 2
American tennis champ, the first black athlete to win a major tennis championship in the U.S., the National Men's Singles in 1968. He was a champion at Wimbledon in 1975. Delayed by foot surgery in February 1977, he came back to competition the following year to earn $260,000 in prize money.
Raised in the iron-clad grip of legal segregation governing Virginia of the '40s and '50s, Ashe lost his mother at age six. Taking up tennis with total dedication, he tenaciously broke through a white dominion to become the first and only black man to win one of the game's Grand Slam titles when, at 25, he won the U.S. Open. Proving his championship ability at Wimbledon, he defeated the supposedly invincible Jimmy Connors, playing one of the most innovative matches of his career and one of the more influential matches in tennis history.
He married photographer Jeanne Moutousamy in March 1977; their daughter Camera, whom he totally adored, was born in 1986. He had a heart attack on 7/31/1979, and heart by-pass surgery on 6/22/1983, effectively ending his sports career. Life had selected him for a broader message, that of his calm dignity and abiding belief in humanity.
As early as 1973, Ashe made a visit to South Africa, grateful that he "could be a rally point" for struggling South Africans. By the '80s, he was actively engaged in the anti-apartheid movement. In 1982, Ashe was invited to join the board of directors of insurance giant Aetna Life and Casualty, providing insights into company policy, management and programs.
When teaching a class on African-Americans and sports, he was disturbed to find there was no suitable text on the subject, so he wrote a three-volume history of black athletes, "A Hard Road To Glory," 1988. He wrote that, "At some point, each individual is responsible for his or her fate. At some point, one cannot blame history. Does the legacy of slavery explain why Mr. Jones eased into class 10 minutes late this morning?"
In August 1988, he had his first indication that something was wrong when he lost the feeling his right hand. Fearing a stroke, he had exploratory surgery on 9/09/1988 in which they found toxoplasmosis. He was told that he had been given AIDS tainted blood in a transfusion during his 1983 heart surgery. His wife and daughter are both HIV negative. When "ousted" by the press, he took a stand on his own terms, forming the Arthur Ashe AIDS Foundation. On 4/08/1992, he announced his condition publicly.
Ashe finished proofreading the galleys of his autobiography, "Days of Grace," two days before he died of AIDS on 2/06/1993, 3:13 PM EST, New York. He was highly respected and greatly mourned.