The 36th stamp in the Black Heritage series honors Althea Gibson (1927–2003), a pioneering tennis player who became the first black Wimbledon champion. The tall, lean Gibson was fast, had a long reach, and relied on a booming serve and precise volleys. She blazed a trail for a future generation of African-American players, such as Arthur Ashe and sisters Venus and Serena Williams.
The oil-on-wood painting featured on the stamp is based on a photograph—taken at Wimbledon—of Gibson bending down to hit a low volley. The first black tennis player to win one of the four major singles tournaments, Gibson helped integrate her sport at the height of the civil rights movement. She twice won Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships (now known as the U.S. Open) and became the top-ranked player in the world.
Designed by Derry Noyes, the stamp features the artwork of Kadir Nelson.
The Althea Gibson stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp in self-adhesive sheets of 20.