Tonight at the U.S. Open in New York, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Nikki Giovanni, Carol Moseley Braun, Phylicia Rashad and other pioneering African-American women will be on hand to celebrate the legacy of late tennis star Althea Gibson.

The U.S. Tennis Association tribute, titled "Breaking Barriers," will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Gibson’s historic title in the U.S. National Championships. In 1957 she became the first black player, male or female, to win the U.S. National Championships (now the U.S. Open). That same year, she was the first black woman to be voted by the Associated Press as it Female Athlete of the Year, an honor she won again in 1958. Gibson died in 2003 at the age of 76.

"Althea Gibson’s talent, dignity and unrelenting desire to achieve made her a great champion," said Jane Brown Grimes, president and chairman of the Board, USTA. "She made tennis a better place, by opening doors and opening minds. She is finally receiving the recognition she so richly deserves."

More than a dozen African-American women who were "firsts" in their fields are expected to attend tonight’s tribute.

Plus: Nike unveils new ad campaign in support of women athletes.

Here’s more on Grace Paley from Robin Morgan at the Women’s Media Center. Morgan was Paley’s friend and sometimes editor when working at Ms.

Columnist Ellen Goodman celebrated Women’s Equality Day in the usual way: distributing the Equal Rites Awards "to those who have labored over the last 12 months to set back the cause of women."

The Patriarch of the Year Prize, writes Goodman, "goes with disappointment to US Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose opinion restricting abortions rested on the retro notion that women needed to be protected from ‘regret,’ ‘grief,’ and ‘sorrow,’ even if it meant protecting them from their rights. We send the paternalistic justice a hook to bring him back to the 21st century."

"Richard Nixon had definite views about how the wife of a presidential candidate should campaign," writes Katharine Q. Seelye. "In 1992, he was watching a lawyer named Hillary Clinton aggressively defend her husband in New Hampshire. ‘If the wife comes through as being too strong and too intelligent,’ Mr. Nixon observed, ‘it makes the husband look like a wimp.’ Now, 15 years later, strong and intelligent women are out in force on the campaign trail, and the focus is not just on how they reflect on their husbands but how they reflect on themselves."

American Girl’s line of historical dolls and books now includes two children of the 70s. "We have high expectations and hopes for this character, because it’s striking such a powerful connection between girls and their moms," Julia Prohaska, the company’s senior director of marketing, tells The New York Times. "It will become the new gold standard."

But don’t expect these dolls to get involved in their mothers’ politics. "We don’t take a political stand," Prohaska adds. "It isn’t our job to tell them what is right or wrong."


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