Arthur Ashe was an accomplished tennis professional who broke down many of the color barriers in the sport. He became the first Black person named to the American Davis Cup team; became the first Black athelete to win the USLTA junior indoor title as well as the first Black junior on the American Junior Davis Cup team. In 1968, he became the first Black male to win a major tennis title, winning the men's singles in the US Lawn Tennis Association Open. He won both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles and earned the world's No. 1 ranking in both 1968 and 1975. He became the first Black male inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
Ashe was also an outspoken activist, speaking out against South Africa's apartheid system as well as more local outrages against civil rights. He produced Hard Road to Glory, the first "complete" book on Blacks in sports.

In 1993, Ashe died from complications due to AIDS, which he apparently contracted from a blood transfusion during open heart surgery. He was posthusmously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.