Wimbledon champion and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe will be the subject of an upcoming biopic.
Ashe’s inspirational story started on the public tennis courts in Richmond, Va., as he eventually rose to become the only Black man to win Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, achieving a No. 1 ranking in the world. Ashe’s victory at the 1968 U.S. Open came as the nation struggled with the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., anti-Vietnam protests and the civil rights movement. Ashe was able to forge his role within the Black revolution in America, finding his own unique voice as he struck a bold new path against apartheid in South Africa and helped open the country to freedom.
The tennis champion demonstrated his emotional courage and bravery in his choice to reveal to the world his struggle with AIDS, which was believed to have been contracted from a blood transfusion he received during heart bypass surgery. Ashe publicly announced his illness in 1992, then spent the last year of his life working to educate and broaden public awareness of HIV and AIDS.
He died in 1993 at the age of 49. That same year he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.