A conversation with authors Frances Clayton Gray & Yanick Rice Lamb.

Author:Meeks, Kenneth
Position:Interview
 
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When Frances Clayton Gray, executive director of the Althea Gibson Foundation and executor of the Althea Gibson Estate, was looking for a writer to help her write the authorized biography of the legendary black tennis player, Yanick Rice Lamb immediately jumped at the opportunity. After all, as Lamb says, "I was born in 1957, right around the time that Althea won Wimbledon the first time around. I was amazed that the opportunity even existed, because when you look at a lot of athletes and people who are pioneers--people who accomplished something in different fields--there is usually several biographies about them. I was surprised that there wasn't one that was comprehensive that spoke from the beginning to the end, and I was happy to have the opportunity to do that."

Lamb had always been aware of Gibson and her accomplishments, but over a two-year period, at the time when she was hired to work on the book, there were a few new things she learned about Gibson. "I didn't know she also played golf and was the first black woman in the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), after her Wimbledon victories. That was in the 1960s, when she was in her early 30's, so she came to golf late in life."

But life in golf was just as challenging, if not tougher than her tennis career. Racism was stilt rampant in America, particularly on the golf course. She had situations were she wasn't allowed into some of the clubhouses and country clubs, where she played. And though she had become a member of the LPGA, the position of its officials was often frustrating for her The LPGA at the time was a fairly young organization, and while on one hand they wanted her to be a part of the organization, on the other hand they were still trying to get sponsors "It was a catch 22," Lamb explains "They did end up canceling same sponsorships for something when they didn't want her to be involved, or certain clubs wouldn't open their...

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