The Arthur Ashe statue in Richmond, Virginia was vandalized this week, and the community is doing what they can to clean it up. On Monday morning, the monument of the late tennis legend was vandalized and spray-painted with the phrases "White Lives Matter" and "Black Lives Matter" graffiti. It is believed "White Lives Matter" was spray-painted first, which led to "Black Lives Matter" being spray-painted over it.
On Wednesday, the people who live in the area were seen cleaning up the monument, which sits on Monument Avenue in downtown Richmond. Ashe's monument is located along with five other statutes of notable figures from the Confederacy, including Jefferson Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Matthew Fontaine Maury, and J.E.B. Stuart, according to USA Today.
Update on the “White Lives Matter” graffiti on the Arthur Ashe statue: neighbors and other have been working tirelessly all morning to get it off the statue. Mission is basically accomplished at this point. @myVPM pic.twitter.com/Jh8JGp2gUe— Roberto Roldan (@ByRobertoR) June 17, 2020
Next, a few neighborhood ladies came with wire brushes and cleaner. We filmed and took turns cleaning. Then the guy came back...and left 2/4 pic.twitter.com/enmVL9KlWE— Betsy Milburn (@Reallyjustreal) June 17, 2020
David Harris Jr., Ashe's nephew, spoke to WTVR and said he anticipated the statue would be vandalized. "I anticipated it would happen just didn't know when," Harris explained. "[My uncle] would definitely say and urge us to be peaceful and to be honest with our emotions." Harris also said: "We have one particular person who's quite not aware of the history of my uncle and tells me that they still have a particular agenda. The work my uncle did was good."
Ashe, who died in 1993, made history while playing tennis. He was the first Black player to be selected to the United States Davis Cup and helped the team win the title in 1963, 1968, 1969, and 1970. Ashe also became the first Black man to win a singles championship at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and Australian Open. In his career, Ashe won a title of 1,085 matches while losing only 337 times. He earned a total of $1,584,909 in prize money and was the No. 1 ranked player in the world in 1968. Ashe was retired from tennis in 1980 and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.