(CNN)The CNN Film “Citizen Ashe” explores the enduring legacy of tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, tracing his personal evolution from sports legend to global activist. His own words, and those closest to him, reveal his quiet determination to “use what he had to do what he could.”
The film premieres Sunday, June 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CNN.
Directors Rex Miller and Sam Pollard explore the enduring legacy of tennis great and humanitarian Ashe in a feature documentary as elegant, meaningful, and poignant as the life he lived.
Ashe’s widow, brother, friends from his childhood in Richmond to his Grand Slam tournament playing and coaching days, as well as confidantes that nurtured his personal evolution from sports legend to global activist, describe the key events that shaped Ashe’s quiet determination to ‘use what he had to do what he could.’ We see Ashe as a young, college student excelling at UCLA, as well as his military career at West Point. The film also details his visit to South Africa as an anti-apartheid activist accompanied by Ambassador Andrew Young, where Ashe spent most of his time in Soweto with young, Black, South Africans.
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
This guide is designed to help you navigate conversations about your thoughts, emotions, questions, and reactions to the film. It contains information about the film, resources for further learning, and discussion questions to deepen your understanding of the legacy of Ashe and his continued impact, along with the change-makers who are making a difference in the world today. We encourage you to utilize this guide to deepen your own engagement and impact, and examine how you too, can make a positive difference where you are.
ARTHUR ASHE – A HUMANITARIAN AND TENNIS TIMELINE (1943-1993)
- July 10, 1943 — Arthur Robert Ashe, Jr, is born in Richmond, VA.
- 1963 — Ashe wins the National Junior Indoor Tennis title.
- 1968 — U.S. Open men” singles win.
- 1969 — Ashe turns pro.
- 1970 — Australian Open men’s singles win.
- 1971 — French Open men’s doubles win.
- 1975 — Wimbledon men’s singles win (Ashe compares the reaction to his win by African Americans to Joe Louis winning the heavyweight championship); Billie Jean King wins women’s singles.
- October 1976 — Ashe meets photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe at a UNCF tennis tournament.
- February 20, 1977 — Ashe marries Moutoussamy-Ashe in a ceremony performed by Ambassador Andrew Young.
- 1977 — Australian Open men’s doubles win.
- 1979 — Ashe suffers from a heart attack, and is rushed to the New York Hospital for open heart bypass surgery at 36 years old.
- March 1980 — Ashe retires from tennis as a professional player.
- 1983 — Ashe contracts HIV from an unscreened blood transfusion during open-heart surgery.
- 1985 — Ashe retires from tennis and is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
- December 1986 – Ashe and Moutoussamy-Ashe welcome a daughter, whom they named Camera, after ‘s profession.
- 1988 — Labor Day Weekend, Ashe is operated on for toxoplasmosis and learns he has AIDS.
- November 14, 1988 — All 3 Volumes of Ashe’s 5-year project are published: A Hard Road to Glory: A History of the African-American Athlete.
- April 8, 1992 — Ashe acknowledges his AIDS diagnosis in a public press conference after being confronted by a USA TODAY journalist.
- 1993 — Ashe founds the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.
- 1993 — Ashe finishes writing Days of Grace: A Memoir, with Arnold Rampersad, days before his death (published in 1994).
- February 6, 1993 — Ashe dies from AIDS-related pneumonia, 3 days after adm
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