Culture

Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe Gets Richmond, Virginia Street Renamed in His Honor

Tennis Legend Arthur Ashe Gets Richmond, Virginia Street Renamed in His Honor

Trailblazing tennis player Arthur Ashe Jr. is being recognized by his hometown of Richmond, Virginia with a street renamed in his honor. 

Photo credit: Alexa Welch Edlund

ESPN reports that thousands of people attended a ceremony this past Saturday to celebrate the renaming of Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Attendees included Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, former Richmond mayor turned senator, Tim Kaine, and several other elected officials. 

Since Ashe’s passing in 1993, a proposal to rename a street after him had been denied twice due to objections from local residents who said there were better ways to honor the late tennis player. However, earlier this year the Richmond City Council ignored those objections and approved a name change in Ashe’s honor. 

Ashe is famously known for breaking barriers in the tennis world by becoming the first Black player selected to the U.S. Davis Cup team and the only Black man to ever win the singles title at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australia Open. 

Ashe’s hometown, which once served as the capital of the Confederacy, also is recognizing his legacy with an athletic center named in his honor and a bronze statue of the late tennis legend. 

Aside from celebrating a street rename, The Washington Post says Richmond residents also celebrated the unveiling of a new exhibit at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, which now sits on Arthur Ashe Boulevard. The exhibit focuses on the struggle for Black equality and it acknowledges the 400th anniversary of the first captive Africans to North America.  

Later that afternoon, the Congressional Black Caucus held a town hall at the museum. Meanwhile, a block party was held at the Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center to celebrate.

Who are some other trailblazers that you believe deserve to be acknowledged by their hometown?