To protest South Africa's apartheid system of government, Ashe calls for the nation to be expelled from the International Lawn Tennis Federation. Ashe requests a visa to travel to South Africa, but his application is denied.  


South Africa grants Ashe a visa. He becomes the first black pro to play in South Africa's national championships.  

July 5 1975
july 5 1975 Ashe defeats Jimmy Connors 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 to win the Wimbledon singles title. Ashe is the only black man to win the world's most prestigious grass-court tournament.  


Feb 20 1977
Feb 20 1977 Ashe marries Jeanne Moutoussamy, a photographer he met during a tennis tournament four months earlier. Andrew Young, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, performs the ceremony at the U.N. chapel in New York.  

July 31 1979
Ashe suffers a heart attack while taking part in a tennis clinic in New York. He is hospitalized for 10 days.  


Dec 13 1979
Ashe undergoes quadruple-bypass surgery.  

April 16 1980)
After suffering chest pains during training, Ashe retires from competitive tennis. His professional record: 818 wins, 260 losses. He won 51 titles.  


Sept 7 1980
Ashe becomes captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team. The U.S. will win the Davis Cup in 1981 and '82.  

Ashe serves as national chairman of the American Heart Association.  


June 21 1983
Because of continuing heart trouble, Ashe undergoes double-bypass surgery. After the operation, Ashe feels sluggish and uncomfortable. He receives a blood transfusion to bolster his strength.  

Jan 11 1985
Ashe is arrested outside the South African embassy in Washington during an anti-apartheid protest.  


March 21 1985
March 21 1985 Ashe is voted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.  

Dec 21 1986
A daughter, Camera, is born to Jeanne and Arthur in New York.  


After feeling numbness in his right hand, Ashe is hospitalized. Tests show that he has toxoplasmosis, a bacterial infection often present in people with HIV. Further tests show that Ashe has HIV, the virus that can cause AIDS. The source of his exposure is believed to be a blood transfusion he received during his 1983 bypass surgery.  

As part of a 31-member delegation of prominent African-Americans, Ashe returns to South Africa to observe political changes in the country as it approaches integration.  


April 8 1992
Believing USA Today is about to report that he has AIDS, Ashe calls a press conference and makes the announcement himself.  

Sept 9 1992
While protesting the U.S. crackdown on Haitian refugees, Ashe is arrested outside the White House.  


Dec 1 1992
On World AIDS Day, Ashe addresses the United Nations General Assembly. He implores the delegates to boost funding for AIDS research and to increase knowledge of the disease and its effects.  

Dec 1992
1992 Sportsman CoverAshe is named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.



Feb 6 1993
Ashe, 49, dies of AIDS-related pneumonia in New York. His body lies in state at the Governor's Mansion in Richmond. More than 5,000 mourners line up outside to file past the casket. Ashe is the first person to lie in state at the mansion since Confederate general Stonewall Jackson in 1863.  

Feb 10 1993
Ashe is laid to rest in Richmond. Nearly 6,000 people attend the funeral, including New York City mayor David Dinkins, Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and Rainbow Coalition chairman Jesse Jackson. Andrew Young, former U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor, delivers the eulogy.

July 10 1996
On what would have been his 53rd birthday, a statue of Ashe is dedicated on Richmond's Monument Avenue. The statue is a striking contrast to the Confederate war heroes whose monuments line the avenue. Ashe is depicted carrying books in one hand and a tennis racket in the other.  


Want to learn more about Arthur Ashe? Click here for a suggested reading list.


Research by Alec Morrison