Richard Williams is an American tennis coach and the father of Venus and Serena Williams.
Bart Davis has written four nonfiction books, The Woman Who Can't Forget, Closure, Shooting Stars, and Holy War on the Home Front. He is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science and Stony Brook University and holds a BA in English and an MA in social work.
"Tennis coach Richard Williams is a controversial figure in women's tennis. I read his new book, Black and White: The Way I See It, on a plane ride to Vermont. I could not put the book down. I don't play tennis and typically don't follow it with the exception of Venus and Serena Williams. Raised in Compton, California, Venus and Serena Williams with the coaching of their father have dominated women's tennis for over a decade. Between them, they have won 15 Wimbledon titles, won more Olympic gold medals than any other women in tennis, each been repeatedly named the No. 1 female player in the world and earned almost every major award in the sport. Behind their success stands Richard Williams, their father and tennis coach.
Through unorthodox methods and amid constant criticism, Richard Williams had a grand plan for his daughters. In this inspiring memoir, Black and White: The Way I See It, Williams, for the first time ever, shares stories about the poverty and violence of his early life in Shreveport, Louisiana, in the 1940s. Richard Williams used a unique parenting style as a coach and as a parent. He taught his girls how to think and he was not a super coach who acted like a tyrant. He would pull his girls from tournaments when he thought it was more important that they enjoy the childhood. At the end of the day, Richard Williams overcame major obstacles as a child, raised a loving family as an adult, and along the way, developed two of the greatest tennis players who ever lived."--Gary Johnson "BlackMenInAmerica.com "
The author grew up the son of a single mother and an absentee father with "a terrible reputation for living off women and having babies all over" his then-segregated hometown of Shreveport, La. His mother taught him the importance of remaining peaceful and tolerant in the face of discrimination. But Williams openly questioned the too-accepting attitudes he saw in the African-American community and became an angry, rebellious teenager who learned how to make a profit out of goods he stole from whites. Seeking to escape the violence and racism he saw around him, Williams traveled to Chicago. He continued to prosper but also saw that even successful blacks were resigned to the fact that they "could never have as much as white people." His next destination was Southern California, where he finally found the opportunities he needed to develop his formidable skills as a businessman and entrepreneur. When Williams accidentally discovered how profitable tennis could be as a profession, he decided to not only learn the game, but also teach it to the unborn daughters he believed would one day be at "the forefront of a white-dominated game." He read books, talked to experts, watched videos and played in the broken-down courts of South Central Los Angeles. Others scoffed at his plans, which included moving his family from Long Beach to the ghettos of Compton to toughen up the two daughters he eventually had. Williams had the last laugh when both girls went on to become two of the most winning and respected tennis players in the world. Inspiring and tough-minded, Williams' book is above all a celebration of one man's resilient, unorthodox spirit.--Kirkus