The fascinating, “upfront and unapologetic” (Kirkus Reviews) memoir of Richard Williams, a businessman, tennis coach, and father to two of the greatest athletes and professional tennis champions of all time—Venus and Serena Williams.
Born into poverty in Shreveport, Louisiana in the 1940s, Richard Williams was blessed by a strong, caring mother who remained his lifelong hero, just as he became hero to Venus and Serena later on. From the beginning of his life, Richard’s mother taught him to live by the principles of courage, confidence, commitment, faith, and love. He passed the same qualities on to his daughters, who grew to love their father and value the lessons he taught them, contrary to public rumors. “I still feel really close to my father,” says Serena. “We have a great relationship. There is an appreciation. There is a closeness because of what we’ve been through together, and a respect.”
A self-made man, Williams has walked a long, hard, exciting, and ultimately rewarding road for seventy years, surmounting the many challenges to raise a loving family and two of the greatest tennis players who ever lived. Black and White is the extraordinary story of that journey and the indomitable spirit that made it all possible.
The rap on Williams, the sometimes tennis coach and father of Venus and Serena, is that he's fierce, independent, and occasionally inappropriate; in his new memoir, co-written with Davis (Closure), he tries to set the record straight. The book follows Williams' trajectory as a self-made man, from his dirt-poor upbringing in Shreveport, Louisiana, to his Oliver Twist-esque stealing persona as a young tike to various run-ins with the local white racists to his eventual flight to Chicago in a freezing boxcar in a freight train at age eighteen. Angry and ambitious, Williams later ended up in Long Beach, California, where he met Oracene Price, a widow raising three daughters, and married her, fathering Venus and Serena, the future tennis dynamos. Written in candid terms, the book doesn't spare unflattering details regarding the challenges of the author's life, or his attempts to participate in a predominantly white sport, which frequently fueled his hot temper and viper tongue. The adoration of Williams as a son, husband, and father form the emotional spine of this book, particularly when it focuses on his fearless mother or his two gifted daughters who have won the most Wimbledon matches in recent years. Gritty, opinionated, and inspirational, Williams' memoir is a testament to a man's courage, drive, and commitment.