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Arthur Ashe’s United Negro College Fund Benefit Silver Bowl Trophy
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[ARTHUR ASHE]. United Negro College Fund Silver Bowl, October 1977. Inscribed “UNCF- Arthur Ashe 3rd Annual Tennis Benefit / [sponsor] Burger King Corporation” 8 x 3¾ in.

Inventory #25681       Price: $3,400

Historical Background
On October 9, 1977, Arthur Ashe hosted an exhibition fundraiser at the Felt Forum. Participants included television anchors Walter Cronkite and Harry Reasoner, Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, tennis stars Marty Riessen and Clark Graebner, New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne, talk show host Stanley Siegel, comedian Alan King, and others. The United Negro College Fund distributed the proceeds to 41 predominantly black colleges & universities. Over the years, Ashe raised millions for the UNCF and for inner-city tennis programs.

The Burger King Corporation was a corporate sponsor and provided the silver bowls for the winners, including this one given to Arthur Ashe. At the UNCF exhibition fundraiser a year earlier, he met Jeanne-Marie Moutoussamy (b. 1951), a free-lance photographer, whom he married in February 1977.

Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was born in Richmond, Virginia. His mother died in 1950, the year Ashe started playing tennis. He was coached by a local black tennis player and a white physician. Unwelcome in segregated Richmond, Ashe moved to St. Louis for his senior high school year, becoming the first African American to win the National Junior Indoor tennis title. He received a tennis scholarship to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1963, and joined the Reserved Officer Training Corps. That year, he became the first African American selected for the U.S. Davis Cup team. In 1965, Ashe won both the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles and doubles titles, helping UCLA win the team championship. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1966 and joined the Army. In 1968, Ashe won the U.S. Amateur Championship and the first U.S. Open. Ashe helped the American win the Davis Cup in 1968, and retain it in 1969 and 1970. After leaving the Army in 1969, he applied for a visa to play in the South African Open. Denied due to apartheid, Ashe applied again in later years to highlight the discrimination. He supported the foundation of the Association of Tennis Players in 1972 and became its president in 1974. Over his career, he won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments—the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, Wimbeldon in 1975, as well as the French Open doubles tournament in 1971 and the Australian Open doubles tournament in 1977. Ashe retired with fifty-one titles.

He underwent quadruple bypass surgery after suffering a heart attack in 1979. Doctors later found that he was infected with HIV, believed to be from blood transfusions during a follow-up surgery in 1983. In 1992, he announced that he had contracted HIV. He founded the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS and later the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. He finished writing his memoir, Days of Grace, only days before his death.

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