The Quiet Heroism of Arthur Ashe

RACE STORIES John G. Zimmerman’s modest photograph depicts a 25-year-old man surrounded by commuters on the platform of a Manhattan subway station in September 1968. He is simply dressed in a short-sleeved shirt and khaki trousers. Pen in one hand, folded newspaper in the other, he is working on a crossword puzzle.




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Crossing the Line: Arthur Ashe at the 1968 US Open (Hardcover)

  • Impressive series of one hundred pictures by John G. Zimmerman, many never before seen, of tennis player Arthur Ashe – the first African American man to win a Grand Slam tournament

  • Contributors include Maurice Berger, James Blake, Philip Brookman, Grant Farred, Wesley Hogan, Walter Iooss, Simone Manuel, Gael Monfils, Tom Okker, Ishmael Reed, and David Roediger
  • John G. Zimmerman (1927-2002) is a true icon of American photography. For decades his pictures appeared on the covers of magazines like Time, Life and Sports Illustrated

The year was 1968, 50 years ago, when Arthur Ashe won the first U.S. Open Tennis Championships. It was an iconic moment not only in sports history, but also in American history: Ashe was the first African-American man to win a Grand Slam tournament. It was also a year of seismic social and political change. This book retells this turbulent chapter in 20th century history through the lens of American photographer John G. Zimmerman, who had unique access to Ashe during and after the US Open final in 1968. It presents the highlights of this tremendous photo series, accompanied by essays from prominent public intellectuals, who discuss the role and complex character of Arthur Ashe, the importance of 1968 and the Civil Rights Movement, and the aesthetics of sports photography.

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