Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue


Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia

Richmond native, tennis champion and humanitarian Arthur Ashe was the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam event and was an active civil rights supporter. He is honored with a statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. [slideshow]

Close-up look at Arthur Ashe statue on Monument AvenueWHERE: Monument Avenue and Roseneath Road.

ARTIST: Paul Di Pasquale.

DEDICATION: July 10, 1996 (it would have been his 53rd birthday).

DESCRIPTION: The bronze statue of Arthur Ashe faces west with four children facing east. The statue shows him holding books in his left hand and a tennis racket in his right hand to illustrate how he encouraged the importance of sports and education. The 12 foot bronze statue (the figure is 10 foot tall, 12 foot to the books in his left hand) stands on a 87,000 pound granite block quarried in Georgia. The monument rises 28 feet above the street.

* * *

There was plenty of controversy over this statue when it was proposed and after it was placed at Monument and Roseneath avenues back in July 1996. Questions like:

  • Should it be on Monument Avenue with all the Confederate heroes?
  • Should there be more design options?
  • Is the base too big for the statue?
  • Is he about to hit the kids with the books and the racquet?

Personally, I don’t think it is the best statue in Richmond. That’s no slight to Mr. Ashe, who was and still is a hero to so many people worldwide. The message in the statue is a good one, and true to his legacy. He’s kept a smile over on Monument Avenue.

Who remembers that then Mayor Leonidas Young had a proposal to place the monument in Byrd Park and rename the Boulevard for Arthur Ashe? Definitely, there were some that thought his statue belonged in Byrd Park, home of some of his tennis-playing days as a Richmond youth.

One article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted a suggestion from a city council member to move the Stonewall Jackson monument to make way for Ashe, calling the intersection of Monument Avenue and Boulevard “the most primary piece of property in the city.” I’ve written that it is the most trafficked and therefore most visible on Monument Avenue.

The article also noted that the entire Ashe family favored the site at Monument Avenue and Roseneath Road — and that Arthur would not have approved of the debate over the location for the statue.

How else has Richmond honored Ashe? Have you ever seen the Arthur Ashe Center? I’ve never liked the building, and I’m not alone. 

One day Richmond will tear that down and build a more adequate and modern facility to replace it.  There have been proposals, mostly tied in with revamping The Boulevard corridor and The Diamond, located on the same property. I hope that if it gets Ashe’s name, it will at least be worthy of his world-class status.

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Thanks for the terrific guide

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  3. Have you read James W. Loewen’s Lies Across America: What Our Historic Site Get Wrong?

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  4. […] more on the history of the statue check out this entry on the now inactive Richmond on the […]

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  5. Posted by Adam on October 1, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    Doug Wilder ? NOO

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  7. Posted by Kelly Kennedy on August 7, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Monument Avenue is 3 miles long… plenty of room for more heroes. And ultimately, that is what brings Richmond into the 21st Century… our recent Heroes. The Question was “Should Ashe be on Monument Avenue?” and it changed to.. “Why shouldn’t Ashe be on Monument Avenue?”. I like the way the figures activate the top of the pedestal. Ashe was a modest man and he told the artist he didn’t want to be the center of the monument. People bring their own baggage to art.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Fay on March 19, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Yes! A monument to L. Douglas Wilder would be very appropriate!!

    Reply

  9. Posted by sandy person on February 19, 2012 at 12:05 am

    What a sad commentary in this day and time. The people of the south who are filled wth racism and hate still rise with the old south mentally. People still don’t understand that the south lost the war; many want to keep he civil war alive and maintain monument avenue as the place for the losing white cilvil war losers.

    Yes, we should place a statue of Governor Douglas L. Wilders on Monument Street.
    He is just as deserving as the stonewall jackson monument or more. Let’s us get together and make it happen!

    Reply

    • Posted by Walter Ring on August 6, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      We certainly DO understand who won the war. That fact is rubbed in our faces every waking moment by people like you and the NAACP. You claim we are still fighting the war but it is really the ones agitating for the removal of anything Confederate that are really still fighting the war, not us. The Confederacy was defeated and our flags represent a defeated nation. Yet you and all of your ilk demand the removal of a symbol that cannot do any harm to you. Who are the real haters? YOU who rammed the Ashe statue down our throats. That makes the Ashe statue the ONLY statue on Monument Avenue representing racism and hate-anti-White and anti-Southern hatred. BTW Doug Wilder is for Doug Wilder, no one else and absolutely does NOT deserve a monument anywhere.

      Reply

    • Posted by Annalyse Bryan on November 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Screw you, you uneducated Yankee asshole!!! The statue of Arthur Ashe belongs in the park where he used to play tennis (even his OWN MOTHER said so) !!! You need to study the Civil War before opening your yap!!! The south only lost because it was an agrarian area, had no factories to produce: guns, powder, cannons & other ordnance supplies. It also lacked a port that was bringing in thousands of men weekly from Europe that slapped a gun & guaranteed CITIZENSHIP in their hands if they agreed to fight for the north. The south also had little to no navy & didn’t have the manpower to build a navy. (The north blockaded all southern ports possible which also caused a lack of ordnance & all other necessary supplies.) But the south still managed to keep going for 4years with everything against them & they managed to kill Yankees at a ratio of at least 4 to 1 !!!!!! If J.E.B. Stuart had been scouting as he should have been then Robert E. Lee would’ve avoided confrontation at Gettysburg & Europe would have come to the aid of the south & we most likely would have won the war !!!!!

      Reply

      • Posted by Travis on August 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

        + Annalyse Does that make the Confederate States brave or stupid? Why would you go to war when you are outnumbered 4 to 1, have no factories and no ports?

  10. Posted by no one on January 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I still say Monument AVenue shold just be for Confederate heroes. Now what, are we going to put up a statue of Doug Wilder?

    Reply

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