The author shares the life stories of Venus and Serena Williams, who charged onto center court in professional tennis at the end of the 20th century with a force never before seen in the sport. No other women tennis players have matched their strength, their speed, or their overall athleticism, and ne have achieved the status and celebrity they have gained on and off the court as they powered to the number one and two rankings in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Venus and Serena Williams represent in many ways a shift in attitudes concerning women in sports, particularly African American women. By playing tough tennis, they conveyed to the public that it was acceptable for women to be strong, to have muscles, and to compete. When Venus and Serena first appeared in the public eye, their hair bound in beads bespoke their ethnic pride, the braces on their teeth belied their youth, and their grit and determination enabled them to withstand challenges concerning the attitudes of these young African American women in what had traditionally been a white-washed sport. This book shares their stories, and it provides a way to consider the impact of race, gender, and culture, and the influence these have through sport in shaping popular culture. Includes a timeline and a bibliography of print and electronic sources for additional research.
Jacqueline Edmondson is Assistant Professor of Education at Penn State University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language and literacy education, and she researches and writes about education policy.