Arthur Ashe

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Alexandra Herrera, Staff Writer

Arthur was born on July, 10,1943 in Richmond,Virginia.  His life resume includes three Grand Slam titles and the title of the very 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, and the Australian Open.

In July of 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack while holding a tennis clinic in New York. His high profile drew attention to his condition specifically to the hereditary aspect of heart disease, he later retired from paying in 1980 due to his health after his retirement, Ashe took on many roles, including writing for Time magazine and The Washington Post, commentating for ABC Sports and HBO from the early 1980s until a few months before his death.

In 1992, Ashe was diagnosed with HIV; he and his doctors believed he contracted the virus from blood transfusions he received during his second heart surgery. When Ashe went public with his illness, he founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS, working to raise awareness about the disease and advocated teaching of having a much safe sex education out there to young adults . On June 20, 1993, Ashe was  awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. On February 6, 1993, Ashe died from AIDS-related illness at the New York Hospital at the age of 49. His funeral was held at the Arthur Ashe Athletic Center in Richmond, Virginia on February 10 where governor Douglas Wilder, who was at the time a friend of Ashe, allowed his body to lie in state at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, more than 5,000 people lined up to walk past his casket.