Arthur Ashe

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Days of Grace Life of Arthur Ashe All people wish they could live a life where they could accomplish so much with so much in your way? Where they could rise up above all and show people that one can do anything one wanted to. Well Arthur Ashe explained in his memoir Days of Grace, his trials and tribulations throughout his life. With these obstacles in Ashe's way, he understood that it would not be an easy road, but it would be a challenging one. Most of these obstacles could have been from dealing with discrimination from his own race and from his career as a tennis player. Ashe had to show the world that he could become a great tennis player and a great role model for the future.

When Ashe got older he had to deal with discrimination all his life. Right before Ashe turned 18, he joined a tournament in West Virginia, where he was the only black person to compete.

Understanding that discrimination effected his life greatly, Ashe vowed to devote himself to show those people that segregation was wrong. Even when Ashe went to school, he was banned from the public tennis courts in Richmond. When Ashe went to a tennis camp during one of his summers, a group of white boys burned a cabin and they immediately blamed Ashe because of his color. As people ridiculed Ashe, even through his college years in UCLA, but he got his break when Bob Kelleher asked Ashe to join in Davis Cup. With all of this discrimination, Ashe just kept to himself because he did not want to have his father effected in any way. This advanced his battle against racism as he was chosen as captain for his team. Ashe believed that racism was indeed the worst thing to affect a human being. He believed that Racism was something that could be changed and that people should change their beliefs about it, but what can one do when another of his greatest fears cannot be controlled. This battle would be Ashe's fight with AIDS.

Ashe's battle with AIDS would not be an easy one, Even though he acted so calm during this time. After Ashe had a blood transfusion, three years later, Ashe had brain surgery where he was found to have HIV. Ashe kept this burden to himself as long as possible, so that he would not permanently damage his family and maintain his privacy. Instead of becoming morbid and horrified of this dilemma, he tried to respond particularly to these problems and throughout the whole time, Ashe never asked "Why me". He soon read an article called the "Village Voice", where Ashe and the Aetna insurance company were targeted by name. They exposed rumors that they were denying insurance to those with HIV and soon their company was hurting financially. With this sickness, Ashe was forced to take pills like nitroglyercin to get through his day and to make himself feel better. There was a great deal of pressure on Ashe during his years on AIDS and a lot of this pressure came from his own race, his fellow African-Americans.

When Ashe was going through his trials with AIDS and his crumbling tennis career, the people to who he looked for support more than anybody, backed away from him. Those people would be Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. These two men criticized Ashe for not doing enough for his group of people and that he was not a good role model. They also had complaints that Ashe's attorney was white, while Ashe responded saying that his lawyer just happened to be white. He believes that many people abandoned God and that turn us away from our true point, that everybody is equal. He wrote, " Most blacks today feel that we live in a worse period than 10 years ago", although this is not the point because African Americans seemed to have a worst time in the 1960's. He thinks that when this all started, African Americans wanted equality and independence, but all they wanted now was revenge and payback. Ashe wanted people to understand his points, which counteracted with his majority of blacks really wanted.

With the death of Arthur Ashe, it impacted many lives in our society. Ashe was the kind of man who many people would want to have as a father or even a close friend. He realized that with his troubles, that he had to do whatever it took to make a difference. He had to make a mark in his battle against discrimination and he knew not to give up with his problem with AIDS. His life was cut short from AIDS, but his spirit still lives in those people who feel that they are being left out of a crowd or have a sickness. Just thinking of Arthur Ashe and his adventure through life and one realizes that one person can make a difference.