Best Books About Black Female Sportswomen – Part 1
In recent years that have been many black women who have excelled in a variety of sports. As equality has gathered pace around the world, more black women have been given the time and opportunity to participate in sport and they have excelled in a variety of events with their achievements being recorded in a number of different books.
One of the greatest women tennis players of all time is Serena Williams who is still competing today. Her career has run side by side with her elder sister Venus’s and her life story is well documented in her autobiography, “Queen of the Court” (2010).
In her career Williams has won 39 grand slams titles, which includes 23 singles victories and she is second only to Margaret Court who has one more title. She is the riches female sportsman of all time and she claims that her success is owed to trying to be a better player than Venus who always had more natural talent when they were growing up.
Another major influence in her career is her father Richard Williams who was determined that both his daughters would turn into professional tennis players. From an early age Serena trained religiously in order to achieve the success that she enjoys today.
Today’s United States Athletics team is dominated by black women, but this wasn’t always the case. For years, the black athletes were not given the opportunities to train so when Alice Coachman became the first woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in 1948, it started a trend of success that continues today.
Her story of how she made the American team that entered the London Olympics of 1948 is told in “Touch the Sky: Alice Coachman, Olympic High Jumper” by Ann Malaspina. Living in a poor Georgia neighborhood there was no athletics track for her to train on and she made her own high jump bar from sticks and rags.
She was in fact a talented all round athlete winning national titles in the 100 metres and the relay. It was a pity that she didn’t take part in Olympics of 1940 and 1944 as a result of the Second World War, as she would have probably won many more medals.
The first black athlete to excel on the track was Wilma Rudolph who in the 1960 Olympic Games won three gold medals. In the book “Wilma Rudolph” by Maureen Smith her tale is told how as a child, she was raised in poverty in Tennessee and she needed to wear leg braces to overcome illnesses brought on by polio.
She had to work tirelessly to overcome the weakness in her left leg, but it wasn’t long before she excelled in basketball and track. Her performances at the 1960 Rome Olympic Games gained her world-wide recognition and she became a role model to other black athletes.
Many black women today play professional basketball but few have been as good as Sheryl Swoopes. In her biography “Sheryl Swoopes” by John Torres it is told how when Swoopes was growing up there were no professional leagues for women. When the first professional league was formed she was the first player to be signed and she represented the United States in three Olympic Games in which the side won gold on each occasion. Her club career included Four WNBA winning titles and her success has continued off the court in a coaching capacity.