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fb but the champion so forth they left the pole so learning to play the game well i grew up in the south in richmond virginia which is a capital a confederacy and driest on monument avenue in richmond only forget it in a segregated school system and i did well in school have an air right place at the right time for my athletic career and unseen at age ten by the gardening johnson who was my first real teacher after
most other elements of the game by a student virginia union nearby school which was across the street from where i live and richmond and then i spent my senior at sumner high school in st louis where the famous high school in the midwest one of the first all black high schools and made a name for itself in iraq for the century and then foy is at ucla two years in the army as an officer then a professional of lighter in it sixty nine when i was honorably discharged from the army i went to summer because richmond virginia did not have any indoor tennis facilities and if we did and that timeline following would not enemies in any way and so dr johnson had a friend of his richard harlan
who was the first black tennis team captain of the universe a chicago cellist in nineteen twenty six i think it was and he was a tennis nut and very well connected to tennis or gaza say lois and agree to have me live in his house which i did while i finished my senior of high school and i was there when i won the national junior into a title that said the ucla coach call the masculine becomes clear the pacing what aged gentleman doug jones is i think that have a church rather than be there were two things going on as my one was the humiliation he felt two years before when he had to have his kids and internationalist last season charlottesville which is just about seventy now from richmond and they both lost six love six love the first round and to our recommended by that virginia university
student taught me run charity as being someone who shared ethos to do well dr johnson had this all like junior tennis development program which is part of american tennis association although he went himself and i just decided to get shown sunday and my father said yes so that's where i got started on their work in the us my father was the caretaker of this playground brookfield in richmond virginia which was the largest black player in the city during the recent weeks my father was an important activity in
the south in the sense that it so one of the rites of passage in a way it's like getting your drivers license or kissing anger over the first time we're getting a hunting license to maybe go out with other adult males was a big big deal among those families who've wanted so to speak and so and regular listeners with a shotgun and so were they wouldn't shoot the clay pigeon out of the sky was no no big deal for me it appears that you play with well i certainly feel a little bit of all of that you grow up being a sort of indoctrinated and the fact that as everyone does every place all over the
world and your own national history and there is a natural dylan defend that when you go i don't think one starts to really feel ones and nationalistic tendencies and he'd go someplace else and compare that with what goes on at home and i felt more american sometimes outside america i get inside but having done so much travel as are lots of the chase her tennis ball all over the world you also say that they are some of the same problems that beset ordinary people at home in an american virginia enrichment of the same people were also on that sense problems are not local provincial their international of the same concerns and everybody else has but i do feel like international's in the sense that there's a divide people are artificial
whether their religious or racial cultural linguistic they're all artificial it's championed so for close its own son specifically about tennis american radio has changed the atmosphere has changed in the actual game itself what changes is the game any different i began is quite different and it was when i started in a serious sustained way there's much more emphasis on the edges pay for women the human and oversize
rackets have made the sport faster ms forbes on tv knows a lot more money in it so obviously the morals the morality of the sport's changed and the people were playing today by larger better athletes than were the players twenty years ago one my generation the target was i would billie jean king if i had to have one person to imagine my life depended on about that billie jean king played four and j shape listen to all four laws that any a professional athlete was subbing to but that she seemed unable to control them better than that a buyout ever city had ever seen
i think it came out front as in the magic bonnie raitt even though was strictly a ban on metal artificial encounter that margaret smith who holds raise record about memos are numbers of major singles and doubles titles won succumb to the pressure play bobby riggs that this gene grab by the horn and for the largest crowd ever to what was a tennis match and soundly beat about the raid which proved nothing but the pressure was enormous match and i've seen are also demonstrate that in tight situations like the files away little once when she was down three love the thirty seven i came back on the matter at our law
since there is more than one is tolerable idea that i could mention players from each doll who impressed me a canner oswald being one very straightforward nothing fancy no loops top spin it was very impressive because i'm always came back and i didn't like that our rod laver was very impressive only a super aggressive oh nothing though ford style left handed very talented very quick when he got behind it hit the ball harder which is exactly opposite of most people jimmy connors was impressive jimmy connors here blue collar hero leisure a working man's champion he had the ability to from the bass line i go forward with the ball within a foot or so of either
the sidelines of the baseline more consistently but every scene argentines off was impressive he spent some time with me so i was a little in awe then the first he was my hero as a kid because he with mexican american one completely white and very good snarl on that not the same defiance of authority which we all in the south at least like when somebody like that would stick it to those guys dropped in a party the somali have cable and i identify with that respect for their games and their approaches to the tennis in your collection that you moments like to report wyler was one moment our call literally right back to me where we sit right now have an unmatched between that would be read and the late
ralph ellison and a very long five set match or on the grass was grass then they were deadly events so hour one inch instance which occurred right here in the center court of forest hills violent mass shooting with the review at the time was right to mourn in the us and the late rafael assume from mexico they play very cecil bottle of sin was a very athletic very acrobatic player on the grass we could fall down and die from walls and anyway the matter is very thrilling stadium filled up to what's the end of it because what of it was at stake and at the end of the match which prof elsner one he literally jumped over the net
into whitney's arms and art and woody cared him off off the state in court here no matter where we're which i thought had some historic destiny involved with that was virginia wade goodwyn lighting seventy seven won the women's singles with the queen of england city in the royal box it was almost as if this is the way the pulse to happen but she lost the first set to bed a stove of the netherlands and that has added another drama make it interesting but he sort of felt that a virginia supposed to win today the queen sitting in the box it's the twenty fifth anniversary of her reign step ahead and then nineteen seventy five years i think many people will ever know about them
don't know much about the preparations while the preparation for the any wimbledon singles finals starts today's before that final because there's a day whether you're a man or a woman as a day that in the semifinal to finally get a day off and so you can take a water for two days and i had sung because of my friends give me advice nobody wanted conner's to when it was a very well liked in those days and in watching jimmy play roscoe ten and one of the hardest servers are visitors in the game i so i felt that i'd found out what i could not do and when and that was it the ball as hard as their austin and roscoe never served better it's a lot of bases in a lot higher percentage of his first years and that he lost very quickly something like six four sixty six for something like that and i decided that if i had a chance in this match than i would have to play a different way a way
which is not that comfortable with me on a fast service like gratz anyway when the night started our own being very very surprised during the file the first time i looked up at the clock in the north west northeast corner of the court analyst to forty one master at two o'clock and ours aren't two sets six one six one thinking and that's mostly necessarily willing to settle in filing as jimmy connors as quickly but on the other hand and i tend to be a very logical person if i'm as good as i think i am than i should be surprised at what whatever this quarter that debate and again was some drama lost the third set it was down three love affairs mr ken jennings yes we thought
that the cameras was vulnerable if it could be served wide to both sides is left handed which meant that on the foreign side of the court if i could server wyden idea that one of the best serves why to that to that side a call for a person was right handed one issue iran is i can do that and i did very well that day khan is always thinking was vulnerable there and also i had a very good survey wider the us i have to be serving well the day also but the idea was to get a lot of first serves him not to let him get set to hit a softer seconds or not and then you throw it as far as like in the bankruptcy at the ball so understand what was little speed as possible down the little to give her knowing another theory came to medicare felt tempted to do so to travel on the ball over his two handed backhand to that site which adnan do very well the data and so ah the other added element which
i had not say that to many people but that actually was very true and can be corroborated by this friend of mine came over from new york all my best friends are in the city and i said to him just before the match i said i have a feeling i can't lose today it has some strange feeling i know the odds were the bookies who are making and six and seven the one against but i have some strange you know i just can't lose today sure enough evidence because between two things fb yes the missing the senate where it will lose the honor war ii action for anybody i think joe
dimaggio monotonous spring training and all about it and sharing this mrs play in the world series and then at least in the individual competition tennis outside safety encompasses like davis cup the world series is the finals of wimbledon final us open french are in this period so yes i miss playing in the finals and women on center court the world after watching act to play for a while you come to realize that it is a job and there's some days that you don't wanna go the officers being which you go anyway those days you don't miss that on the days when you are in a final of a german specialist her light will of the us open yes you miss that and us combat also
do i am i came to the realization that in the mid seventies black athletes may not especially be that the right role models from black kids all athletes are right across the border are looked up to by kids of every color their race religion but there's just no question in my mind that too many black children boys in particular spend too much time trying to be professional athletes and with nothing to fall back on if they're not make it so they make these bets with themselves which nearly every single one loses and to that extent i he ever wrote that open letter to my parents it was promised a new york times saying no
you should try to keep your son's athletic aspirations in check and you know i love like to use want to have your kid your child a name but there's nothing being too far and let's not let your child perpetuate that vein in his own mind too far i think it's hurt us know personalize heard us as a as a pivot so many of us boys one of the professional athletes and they hold a dream too long interviewed frank robinson and he said that the percentage of black baseball going dear yes so this is all that correctly was that in your view of the trendy think that's perhaps in keeping with what you say may be parents certainly since i don't think recent trend which shows a decrease in the percentage of black professional baseball
players is is a result of the black candidate deemphasizing professional sports i think it's more a function of the year major lays now getting quite a few of its higher percentage of its recruits from college campuses in the minor leagues and also the idea of spending two three four years in the minor leagues is less appealing to black baseball players now and it was a long time ago all of us i think are caught up in that instant gratification syndrome but i think black males even more so they don't want to spend the time in the minor leagues if that's what it takes if they did not go to college and plan for playing varsity based on some incidental a division one school recently to be re special to be treated
extremely special yes i think there are people who are only a coward road with john mcenroe jimmy connors they are special in the sense that you cannot treat them the way you treat somebody who has ranked number forty in the world although it got carry an ethos here would lead us to say well you should do that but human nature is such that if you try to treat mcenroe connors like you treated the plan were thirty five it just won't work and so are i don't hold them accountable to all rules as strictly in every answer's and i would say some other player who's demonstrated ability is much less about acquiring say somebody else like an errant christina might have on the team and i we do tax at a certain time and the reason is you don't have a record that because i'm a mac nor does he have a very emotional
maturity with age eric christina sixteen columns thirty two i like colors and mcenroe set their own schedules and i assumed that they know what to do in this area and injured in that passage that osha doing so that's where our current that parish which has weiss i don't wanna be remembered especially having won wimbledon and the us open which is something that to be done only yale and one is full of the year and other things i don't know i think what i really would like to hear word for something that i that probably lay ahead my athletic commission has certainly may lead the list but south add to that what the alderman remembered for i don't know how to be around they get out of the war
to be a chevron i think here you have to include the things like talent perseverance determination preparation sacrifice but what separates it in my mind champions from their winners are people who literally wanna leave their sport better off than it was when they first started that is they would elicit a lot of the sports and i get really separates people which eventually they were just well as you can
Black Champions
Raw Footage
Interview with Arthur Ashe
Producing Organization
Miles Educational Film Productions, Inc.
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Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, Missouri)
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Program Description
Documentary honoring African American athletes and their accomplishments throughout the 20th century.
Raw Footage Description
Interview with Arthur Ashe conducted for Black Champions. Discussion centers on his life and becoming one of the best tennis players in the world.
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Raw Footage
Discrimination in sports; African American athletes; Sports--United States
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Camera Operator: Galindez, Vinnie
Interviewee: Ashe, Arthur
Interviewer: Riley, Clayton, 1935-2011
Producing Organization: Miles Educational Film Productions, Inc.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Film & Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis
Identifier: cpb-aacip-10aa1d95d7a (Filename)
Format: 16mm film
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Chicago: “Black Champions; Interview with Arthur Ashe,” 1984-10-16, Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 3, 2023,
MLA: “Black Champions; Interview with Arthur Ashe.” 1984-10-16. Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 3, 2023. <>.
APA: Black Champions; Interview with Arthur Ashe. Boston, MA: Film and Media Archive, Washington University in St. Louis, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from