Tennis legends Billie Jean King and Katrina Adams paid tribute at the First-Day-of-Issuance Forever stamp dedication ceremony honoring tennis legend Althea Gibson as the 36th inductee into the United States Postal Service's Black Heritage stamp series.
The USPS honored Gibson at a special ceremony Aug. 24 at the Althea Gibson Tennis Complex, at the Essex County Branch Brook Park, in Newark, N.J.
"I'm excited that the Postal Service is releasing a Forever stamp that honors the legacy of my friend, Althea Gibson," said King. "Her achievements served as a catalyst for equality in sports and in life and I am honored to participate in this historic event."
As the first African-American tennis player to win one of the four major singles tournaments, Gibson (19272003) helped integrate her sport at the height of the civil rights movement.
She twice won Wimbledon and the U.S. Championships (now the U.S. Open) and became the top-ranked player in the world.
The stamp, which features an action shot of Gibson, emphasizes two of her notable characteristics: grace and athleticism.
Designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, D.C., the stamp features an oil-on-wood painting of Gibson by artist Kadir Nelson of Los Angeles, Calif.
The art is based on a photograph taken at Wimbledon.
The Althea Gibson Forever stamp is available at post offices nationwide, at: usps.com/stamps and at (800) STAMP-24 (782-6724).
Kathleen Swanson is a spokeswoman for U.S. Postal Service.