Arthur Ashe was inducted into the army in 1966, the year he graduated from UCLA. During the two years Ashe served in the army, first as deputy brigade commander in Fort Lewis, Washington, and then as a second lieutenant. After boot camp, he was offered the position of assistant tennis coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. This is a black history fact that I was not aware of until I saw a picture of Arthur Ash while touring the campus of West Point with my son. I remember Ashe growing up. He was like our Venus and Serena during my teenagers years….he paved the way for other notable African American tennis players.
Born July 10 in Richmond, Virginia 1950 Mother dies of complications from surgery 1957 Plays his first integrated event, becoming first African American to play in the Maryland boys’ championships 1959 Debuts at U.S. National Championships 1963 First African American ever picked for U.S. Davis Cup team 1963 Debuts at Wimbledon 1964 First major grass-court title at Eastern Grass Court Championships 1965 Wins National Collegiate Athletic Association singles and doubles title 1966 Earns his bachelor of science degree in business administration from UCLA; inducted into Army 1968 As America’s top-ranked amateur player, wins first of seven Davis Cups as member of U.S. team 1969 Wins U.S. Open and Davis Cup 1970 Wins Australian Open 1970 Lobbies to have South Africa expelled from International Lawn Tennis Federation; serves as U.S. Goodwill Ambassador to Africa 1973 First visit to South Africa; becomes first black professional to play in its national championships 1974 Elected President of Association of Tennis Professionals 1975 Wins World Champion Tennis Championships 1975 Wins Wimbledon 1975 Becomes top-ranked player in the world 1977 Weds photographer Jeanne Marie Moutoussamy 1978 Last tournament win of career, Pacific Southwest Championships in Los Angeles 1979 Suffers heart attack and undergoes quadruple-bypass surgery 1980 Retires from competitive tennis 1981-85 Named captain of U.S. Davis Cup team 1983 Undergoes second bypass surgery and receives blood transfusion 1985 Arrested in anti-apartheid demonstration outside South African embassy in Washington 1986 Daughter Camera is born in New York 1988 Hospitalized for bacterial infection, leading to HIV diagnosis 1991 Returns to South Africa with U.S. delegation as observer of political changes 1992 Arrested for demonstrating in front of White House on behalf of Haitian refugees 1992 Announces he has AIDS 1992 Founds Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS 1993 Dies of AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6 1996 Arthur Ashe monument erected in Richmond 1997 Main stadium at site of U.S. Open in New York City named Arthur Ashe Stadium