With every powerful serve and deft ground stroke, with every graceful volley and determined charge to the net, black tennis players, from Hall of Famers Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Evonne Goolagong, and Yannick Noah to future legends James Blake and the sisters Venus and Serena Williams, have forced open the sport's shuttered gates and demanded to be acknowledged. In Charging the Net, Cecil Harris and Larryette Kyle-DeBose draw on personal interviews and extensive research to chronicle the triumphs-and humiliations-of blacks in professional tennis from the 1940s to the present. For many fans and writers, Ashe, Gibson, and the Williams sisters personify black achievement in tennis, but others have made their mark. Charging the Net spotlights a wide range of competitors as well as the American Tennis Association, a league that thrived despite racial segregation, thanks to such benefactors as Dr. R. Walter Johnson.
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Cecil Harris has written on sports for Newsday, the New York Post, the Sporting News, and USA Today, and has covered tennis for the Indianapolis Star and for Gannett suburban newspapers in New York. His other books include Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey and Call the Yankees My Daddy: Reflections on Baseball, Race, and Family. He lives in Yonkers, New York. Larryette Kyle-DeBose is a player-captain in the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association. She has worked as a photojournalist for the Swasi Times in Africa and is the author of The African-American Guide to Real Estate Investing. She lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
Before and after Althea Gibson leaped the color bar, blacks were playing tennis-enthusiastically but largely unrecognized. Harris and Kyle-DeBose have done the game a service, deeply exploring the history of the triumphs, pains and pitfalls of the black experience. -- Bud Collins The Boston Globe This volume takes a more comprehensive approach to the subject and...carves a deserving place for itself in tennis literature. -- David Pitt Booklist An informative read on African-Americans in tennis...The overall impact produces a service ace. Charging the Net should be required reading for anyone concerned about the history of race in sport and the lack of diversity in tennis. Tenessean.Com Explores the ongoing journey for black tennis players to force open the sport's shuttered gates...packed with historic information. Standard Newswire A wide-ranging history, built on more than 65 interviews, that tells in-depth stories about the lives of black tennis stars. The New York Times Worth reading. Black Athlete Sports Network the authors weave a well-referenced log of the trials, tribulations, and challenges that have faced young black tennis stars...This is a book for those interested in sports, sport psychology, sport management, African American studies, and, of course, for all who follow tennis. Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICE, January 2008 Lively presentation blends civil rights issues with tennis...Top pick...for sports libraries [and] collection[s] strong in integration issues. Midwest Book Review Labor of love...document[s] a rich black tennis experience. Inside Tennis Interesting read for all avid sports enthusiasts...The lessons learned here need to stay vibrant in our minds. -- Chris Howard Daily Courier Historical account...describes the numerous contributions of and challenges overcome by specific figures. Forecast The authors weave a well-referenced log of the trials, tribulations, and challenges that have faced young black tennis stars...This is a book for those interested in sports, sport psychology, sport management, African American studies, and, of course, for all who follow tennis...Recommended. -- M. L. Krotee CHOICE
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