WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — History is about to come full circle for one man and his organization in Wilmington.
One Love Tennis is restoring the property that once was the home and training facility of a tennis icon.
WWAY spoke with the founder of One Love who says he is excited to see the history of the home come back to life with a new generation.
“The history of this home, it comes with such iconic historical value,” Simpson said.
The blue home off of Orange Street in Wilmington, once belonged to Dr. Hubert Eaton.
Dr. Eaton, a civil rights activist, shared his love of tennis.
One of his biggest students, “Althea Gibson the first African American to win a major championship.”
Gibson also lived and trained at the home of Dr. Eaton.
The iconic home will now be the new location for One Love Tennis.
The non-profit organization helps give youth the opportunity to play tennis that goes beyond just the game.
“We’re trying for every boy and girl, at risk boy and girl and kids in general to give them the opportunity to to succeed in life and make a difference and change their lives,” Simpson said.
The organization’s founder, Lenny Simpson said the home was also the start of his love for tennis.
“I was inspired by Althea Gibson my coach Nat Jackson so its all about the process, paying it forward giving it back to these young boys and girls just like i had in 1953,” Simpson said.
Many contributed to buying and restoring the home, including Port City’s own Michael Jordan who donated $50,000 to the project.
As the restoration process begins Simpson is excited to bring back the history and share it with a new group of boys and girls.
“To be able to come back here and to live in this very home the same office the Dr. Hubert and his family were in and to have kids and for this to be a safe haven for kids not only in this neighborhood but for our one love kids.”
It is a moment he can not wait for.
“That is going to be an incredible day that I will never ever forget once all of this is done and were in here and we cut the ribbon,” Simpson said.
Simpson said there is still a lot of work to be done on the house and any help is needed. He hopes it will be finished in eight to nine months, but would appreciate the continued support from the community.