Payne Honors East Orange Resident Althea Gibson, Introduces Bill to Award Congressional Gold Medal for Breaking Down Racial Barriers in Sports

Jun 25, 2014 Issues: Local Issues

East Orange, N.J. – Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) today introduced legislation to posthumously confer a Congressional Gold Medal to Althea Gibson for her ground-breaking achievements in athletics and her commitment to ending racial discrimination and prejudice in the world of athletics. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award given by the United States Congress.

“I am proud to honor the trailblazing career of Althea Gibson, who was one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a renowned golfer.  It is fitting that the introduction of legislation coincides with the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer and the historic Civil Rights Act, as Ms. Gibson was the first African-American to compete at the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon, and she went on to win 11 Grand Slam tournaments. She overcame obstacles and broke down racial barriers for future generations of African-Americans to come.

“A longtime resident of the city of East Orange, she gave back to her community by mentoring youth. Ms. Gibson was a role model, public servant, athlete, author, and a woman of many firsts. I am proud of the accomplishments of Ms. Gibson and glad to honor her legacy by introducing this legislation.”

Please see the legislation here.