Crossing the Line: Arthur Ashe at the 1968 US Open

Arthur Ashe was the first black man to win a Grand Slam: his victory at the US Open in 1968 was an iconic moment not only in sports history, but in American history in general. It was a sign that society was changing. This book retells and reframes the story of 1968 as a year of seismic social and political change through the lens of the American photographer John G. Zimmerman, who had the unique opportunity to follow Arthur Ashe – both on and off court – during and after his US Open final against Tom Okker. Zimmerman’s pictures, many never before seen, constitute

a singular portrait of a tennis champion crossing lines.

This publication also includes a series of exclusive essays and interviews discussing the role and character of Arthur Ashe, the importance of 1968 and the Civil Rights Movement, and the aesthetics of sports photography. Contributors include Maurice Berger, James Blake, Philip Brookman, Grant Farred, Wesley Hogan, Walter Iooss, Simone Manuel, John McEnroe, Gaël Monfils, Tom Okker, Ishmael Reed, and David Roediger.

Zimmerman’s photographs are not about Ashe’s victory, or even tennis. They are fundamentally about the dignity, strength and quiet courage of this man, whose talent led him from the streets of Richmond to the US Open men’s singles title in 1968, a fatefully difficult year for the Civil Rights Movement and American politics in general.

— Philip Brookman

Photographs by John G. Zimmerman

Crossing the Line:

Arthur Ashe at the 1968 US Open

He was a man of great patience. He was Barack Obama before the real one showed up.

— Ishmael Reed

Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.40.29 AM.png
Screen Shot 2018-08-23 at 10.42.12 AM.png