A documentary about the trailblazing athlete Althea Gibson.
Her near-win was marked with the kind of drama usually reserved for warring mythological gods: dark clouds stormed the sun, thunder roared, thick drops of rain pelted the ground, and lightning struck one of the iconic cement eagles of the stadium’s facade and sent it hurtling to the ground. Even Althea, who resisted defining her career in terms of racial politics, later reflected that it might have been 'an omen that times was changing'.
The first black tennis player to compete at this elite level, Althea slammed her way through the colour barrier into the world of international tennis. With a style of play she described as 'aggressive, dynamic, and mean', Althea brought a fierce athleticism to the women’s game, ushering in a new era in the sport. Her singles win at Wimbledon drew the attention of the world and a ticker-tape parade along Broadway.
Rex Miller’s Altheadoes more than celebrate a trailblazer in the world of sports. With rarely seen archival photographs and interviews with those closest to Althea, Miller creates a rich portrait of the African American community of 1950‘s Harlem who saw her potential and nurtured her talent – including the exclusive Cosmopolitan Tennis club, where the black professional elite pursued tennis on private courts of their own. Though her rough edges may have alienated some, Althea also inspired fierce loyalty.
Althea is a tribute to the remarkable friendships and mentors who made her transformation from a street kid to the Queen of the Courts a reality.
"I have watched Althea three times... With each viewing, I also came away with an unshakable sadness."
WILLIAM RHODEN, THE NEW YORK TIMES
"You don't have to love sports to be compelled by Althea's story."
BILLIE JEAN KING