Serena Williams

Serena Williams is considered to be one of the greatest women's tennis players of all-time in a career hampered by numerous injuries. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions and and is currently Number five in doubles with her older sister Venus. Serena Williams has won two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles, and has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history. Serena has played older sister Venus in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of these matches. The pair have won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles together.

Serena Jameka Williams was born September 26, 1981 in Lynwood, California to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is the youngest of Oracene's five daughters and the younger sister of Serena Williams. The Williams family moved from Compton, California to West Palm Beach when Serena was nine so that she could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci. Marci, who spotted the exceptional talent of the sisters, could provide additional coaching for the young girls.

Richard Williams stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Venus Williams was eleven and her younger sister Serena was 10. His decision was based partly on racial problems the girls had to suffer, claiming he had heard parents of white players talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. Their father was also concerned that they maintain as normal a childhood as possible, and wanted them to still have time to be "little girls".

At that time he pulled the sisters, Serena Williams had a 46–3  record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among under 10 players in Florida. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci's academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.

In 1995, Serena turned pro. Two years later, she was already No. 99 in the world rankings, up from 304 just 12 months before. A year later, she graduated high school, and almost immediately inked a $12 million shoe deal with Puma.

By the following year her world ranking had risen as high as number 21, and both Williams and her sister, Venus, were bona-fide celebrities. She served notice that her time had come when she advanced to the semifinals of a Sydney, Australia tournament by beating the then third-ranked woman in the world, Lindsay Davenport, who went on to become the United States Open champion that year. Expected to do well in her first Grand tournament, the Australian Open, Serena Williams had the bad luck of having to face her sister in the second round after ousting ninth-ranked Irina Spirlea in the first round.

Venus emerged victorious, and Essence magazine reported that she was heard to say, "I'm sorry I had to take you out, Serena," as the two sisters walked off the court. This was the first time that the public caught a glimpse of the relationship between the two sisters and how they work not only to be the best for themselves, but also to motivate each other.

Having learned to play tennis on public courts in Compton, Calififornia alongside her older sister Venus, Serena became the first Williams sister to win a major singles title in 1999, when at age 17 she defeated No. 1 Martina Hingis in the U.S. Open final.

From 2002 through 2003 Serena Williams won four consecutive Grand Slam singles titles (2002 French Open, 2002 Wimbledon, 2002 U.S. Open, 2003 Australian Open), a feat that was dubbed the “Serena Slam.” Williams is the fifth woman, behind Maureen Connolly, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf, to hold all four major titles simultaneously. Serena defeated her sister in the finals of the four majors that comprised that run.

Off the court, fashion and acting are Serena's passions. She was selected as one of People Magazine's “25 Most Intriguing People” October 21, 2002, and one of the top 10 celebrities in Biography's top 100 biographies of 2003. Serena was also  honored as one of Essence magazine's “50 Most Inspiring African- Americans.”

Serena Williams gives back to community whenever possible. She visits schools and hospitals, and conducts tennis clinics for at-risk youth. Through her work with The Owl Foundation, she is able to help fund programs that address learning problems for individuals who experience academic failure. Its mission is to ensure that every child is treated individually and is provided with the opportunity to reach his or her full potential

Serena Williams 2005 Australian Open victory finals match earned ESPN2 their highest highest-rated and most-watched tennis telecast ever. After injuries forced her to compete in only four tournaments in 2006, Serena came back triumphantly winning the 2007 Australian Open and the Sony Ericsson Open, proving that she is still on top of the tennis world.

On April 20, 2017, Serena revealed she was 20 weeks pregnant with a Snapchat video showing off her baby bump. She gave birth to a girl on September 1, 2017. She is currently trying to regain her form after becoming a mother.

Click on the links below for detailed information and photos on African American athletes who rose to the top of their field


Boxing great Henry Armstrong hammered away at discrimination in the 1930s and 1940s by refusing to fight in segregated arenas.

Shining Stars

Joe Louis' and Jesse Owens' defeat of German supremacists led to white America rooting for a black man. All's stance against the war led to him being the most popular speaker at white college campuses in America.

Track & Field

For a remarkable nine years, nine months and nine days, Edwin Moses remained invincible in the 400 meter hurdles, being unbeaten in 122 consecutive races

Gridiron Greats

Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall were the first black players in what is now the NFL in 1920. Despite the history of racial bias in the game, today's NFL is at complete contrast with its previous agenda.

Baseball's Best

Between 1903 and 1946 players with black skin, including Cubans, Latin Americans, and African Americans, were banned from organized baseball.

Basketball Greats

A lot of people are familiar with the old Negro Baseball Leagues, but less have heard about the African American basketball teams known as “the Black Fives”, named after the starting five players.


Don't miss a single page. Find everything you need on our complete sitemap directory.


Listen or read the top speeches from African Americans. Read more


Read about the great African Americans who fought in wars. Read more


African Americans invented many of the things we use today. Read more


Thin jazz, think art, think of great actors and find them here. Read more


Follow the history of Black Americans from slave ships to the presidency. Read more


Olympic winners, MVPS of every sport, and people who broke the color barrier. Read more

Civil Rights Activists

These men and women risked and sometimes lost their life to fight for the cause. Read more


Meet the people who worked to change the system from the inside. Read more