Monument will be unveiled at Soverel Park Dedication Ceremony

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Mayor Ted Green and the East Orange City Council, in conjunction with the Estate of Althea Gibson and Leslie Scott Seale, are excited to announce a special tribute to honor the legacy of East Orange’s trailblazing tennis pioneer, Althea Gibson —the first African American to break the color barrier in tournament tennis around the world.

The tribute will include a series of events:

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Friday, August 23 at 11am - Dedication Ceremony and Monument Unveiling

Featuring Lunch by Celebrity Chef Ameer Natson at Soverel Park, 2 Soverel Terrace, East Orange

Sunday, August 25 at 4pm-7pm - Fundraising Benefit for Youth Tennis

Hosted by Estate of Althea Gibson and Leslie Scott Seale at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club, 305 North Ridgewood Road, South Orange

Friday, August 16-30*

Althea Gibson Exhibition - East Orange Public Library, 21 South Arlington Avenue, East Orange

*The exhibit will be open to the public during normal business hours

“We are proud to honor the phenomenal achievements of a woman who, against great odds, became a true champion in every sense of the word. Althea Gibson later made East Orange herhome and served as the city’s Director of Recreation, inspiring players of all ages and skills to love the game,” said Mayor Green. “The monument at Soverel Park will serve as a permanentreminder of her great contributions to the sport of tennis and her lasting connection to our city.”

Leslie Scott Seale, Co-Founder and Principal of Novus Equities, is an avid fan of Althea Gibson and was delighted to learn that she spent her later years in East Orange, where his company has significant plans for redevelopment. “I am thrilled to celebrate the extraordinary legacy of Althea Gibson, one of so many people from East Orange who have made contributions to our history and culture,” said Seale. “Her story is an inspiration and a lesson to us all about courage, resilience and the power of one person to make a difference. We look forward to all the events and hope the community will join us.”

For more information or to RSVP for one or more of the events, please

Althea Gibson (August 25, 1927 – September 28, 2003) was the first black athlete to cross the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first African American to win a grand slam title (the French Championships). The following year she won both Wimbledon and the US Nationals (precursor of the US Open), then won both again in 1958, and was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in both years. In all, she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments. Gibson was inducted into theInternational Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame.