IMG_2005I have been busy and I did not have time to write.  I had tests and projects such as a book report. I read Days of Grace by Arthur Ashe.  It was a fantastic book and I recommend that you read it.  I loved it so much that I wrote 13 pages and that is what kept me so busy.  Arthur Ashe was a tennis champion, humanitarian, the head of a family, and a person who lived and died of AIDS.  Like baseball’s Jackie Robinson, Ashe broke the color barrier in tennis.  Many people the world over have been touched by the Ashe legacy. After graduating from UCLA, Arthur joined the United States Army.  He was a second lieutenant.  He won more Davis Cup matches than any American.  Ashe is the only black man to win Wimbledon. Ashe was the #1 men’s player in the world in 1975.  It is quite an accomplishment to be known as the “best” in the entire world at anything.

Arthur focused on racism throughout the book and gave many examples.  Despite his overcoming racism in tennis through his gift, he fought against apartheid in South Africa.  Not only did he fight for equality for black South Africans, he also went on to fight for refugees from Haiti.

Ashe had many consultantships.  He was very proud of becoming a board member of Aetna.  He was the second black man to serve on its board.  He had a life-threatening illness and could “represent the army of sick in America and around the world. In a way, I also represent all male gays, all hemophiliacs, and all intravenous drug users who might become infected with HIV.  And perhaps I also represent the dying (pp. 186-187).”  I learned that hemophilia is a blood disease and is found mainly in males and is a blood clotting disorder.  Arthur also wrote several books.  Two of the books he published are Off the Court written in 1981 (p. 162) and A Hard Road to Glory:  A History of the African-American in Sports (p.171) written in 1988. Arthur wrote eight books between 1967 and 1993.   Arthur founded many organizations such as Safe Passage or was supportive of others, such as the United Negro Fund.  Arthur was honored many times.  He was also the recipient of Sports Illustrated Magazine’s Sportsman of the Year in 1992.  Arthur was also an AIDS activist and health educator.

Arthur Ashe said many inspirational words. I would like to share some of them with you.  I would like to share them with those of you who have served or are serving. I would like to lift your spirits.  I want to share these words with the brave “Blue and Gold Star” families to urge them to not to give up hope.

“There is always hope, and you must live your life as if there is, or there will be some hope.”  Moreover, this hope “should not be a selfish hope…For me, the hope is that maybe there is no cure for AIDS in time for me, but certainly for everyone else.”  That fact alone, I suggested, “should be sufficient to maintain this hope (p. 252).” Ashe still had hope—even to the end of his life.   I felt that he had every right to feel sorry for himself, but I was astonished that he did not feel sorry for himself.  He never asked himself, “Why me?”  “Quite often people who mean well will inquire of me whether I ever ask myself, in the face of my diseases, “Why me?” I never do.  If I ask “Why me?” as I am assaulted by heart disease and AIDS, I must ask “Why me?” about my blessings, and question my rights to enjoy them. The morning after I won Wimbledon in 1975 I should have asked “Why me?” and doubted that I deserved the victory.  If I don’t ask “Why me?” after my victories, I cannot ask “Why me?” after my setbacks and disasters (p. 283).”  It is an outstanding accomplishment and a true and supreme success that Ashe was able to face his disease and death head on with hope.  He still is an influence to humanity in teaching others how to cope with their stresses.

“Start where you are.  Use what you have.  Do what you can.” 

Your Neighbor,


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