344. Billie Jean King: An Advocate of Equal Rights for Women

It was not so long ago that women the United States were treated like second-class citizens. did not have the same basic rights as male counterparts had. At one time, women were allowed to vote, own property, or get education. those dark times, the women of America have great strides in their struggle for equality. One their heroes was the great Billie Jean King.

was a professional tennis player, who gained great during her career on the women's tennis court. won 39 Grand Slam Titles, 12 singles, 16 's doubles, and 11 mixed doubles. She found success just about every venue she participated in, including Federation Cup Championships. King's greatest accomplishment, however, was exhibition match that took place in Houston, Texas September 20, 1973.

The 29-year-old King, who was the top of her professional career at the , faced a former Wimbledon Champion, Bobby Riggs. Riggs one of the best men's players during his in the late 1930s and 40s. The 55-year-old challenged King to an exhibition match claiming that women's game was far inferior to the men's . He said that even a 55-year-old, "washed-up" former could beat the top woman in the world. stage was set for the match. However, it not much of a match at all.

King defeated Riggs without much trouble. The match was exposed for what many people claimed it would : a showcase for King to demonstrate that women compete against men. The victory was part of equal rights movement that was sweeping the nation that time. King became an outspoken advocate of rights for women.