Arthur Ashe faced many challenges on his way to being a championship tennis player, but one of his toughest challenges came when he took on writing a history of black athletes in America.
We remember Arthur Asheas a tennis star whose quickness and grace on the court masked a concentration and preparation that few athletes have matched. Ashe's tennis career was cut short by health problems, and his life ended tragically early by a medical accident.
Ashe was many things besides a tennis champion. Among them, he was an author, a fact probably unbeknownst to most readers.
Ashe wrote and co-authored a number of autobiographical volumes, inspirational books, and instructional books on tennis. His most interesting work, however, is hard to classify. It was a three-volume history of black athletes in America under the general title of A Hard Road to Glory.
Heads and Tales
text and drawings by Jim Stovall
In his forward to this book, Ed Caudill says:
"Jim Stovall writes in the introduction that he is “trying to caricature people.” He succeeds, perhaps ironically in light of the fact that writers themselves are inevitably – sometimes tragically, sometimes commendably, usually unintentionally – caricaturing culture. This collection careens along the gamut from rich and famous to downtrodden and obscure. Some of them, the readers will know. Others, I would take long odds, are unheard of among the perusers of this volume. There any number of lesser knowns whose names are fleeting but whose work is durable, whether in politics,
letters, sciences, or elsewhere. Some are masters of other media, such radio or cinema or illustration."
Jim Stovall is a former journalism professor who writes and draws obsessively and occasionally inflicts his work onto an unsuspecting and largely undeserving public.