Feature African-American Athletes

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African-American Athletes

More from Tukufu about African-American Athletes.

For African-American athletes, overcoming the color barrier in pro sports was only the beginning of their success.

By the 1950s all major pro sports were integrated and television brought the integration home.

Suddenly Americans could see Althea Gibson win the 1958 Wimbledon Cup and Wilma Rudolph take home three gold medals at the 1960 Olympics.

As the civil rights movement grew, African-Americans were not content to just play sports.

At the 1968 Olympics, track stars John Carlos and Tommy Smith used their very public victories to take a stand for black power.

The athlete known as "The Greatest," Muhammad Ali, had a tremendous impact not only on the world of sport, but on politics and society at large.

In 1967, he was stripped of his heavyweight championship title because he refused to fight in the Vietnam War.

"I ain't got no quarrel with the Viet Cong," Ali said, "No Viet Cong ever called me 'nigger.'"

Despite a torrent of racist opposition, Ali held his ground.

Three years later, the United States Supreme Court ruled in his favor and Ali boxed again.

Today black athletes have moved beyond mere integration to become integral to the world of professional sports.