RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In Richmond, the legacy of Arthur Ashe goes beyond the accolades and trophies the tennis legend won during his career. Events in honor of the Richmond native, who became the only black man to win the singles titles at Wimbledon, at the U.S. Open and the Australian Open, took place this week and will continue Saturday after the unveiling of Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
In February, the Richmond City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of changing “Boulevard” to “Arthur Ashe Boulevard.” When the decision was announced, the city council chamber was filled with joy.
“Anytime we can acknowledge our ancestors, people who have done things greater than us and their works are still helping us and pertinent to today’s time,” Ashe’s nephew, David Harris Jr., said after the vote from the city council. “It’s a great opportunity.”
Earlier in the week, the celebration began with a social justice forum and a tennis tournament. The city’s three-day celebration in Ashe’s honor will close out with the unveiling of the Arthur Ashe Boulevard sign Saturday.
The sign unveiling will take place at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture at 11 a.m., and leaders across the country, including civil rights icon U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis (D-Ga.), plan to attend. Other notable guests expected to appear at the event include U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and more.
“What an amazing time to be in the City of Richmond – a time inspired by the legacy of my uncle, Arthur Ashe, Jr.,” said Harris. “We want to thank the City of Richmond for your efforts in doing what is right. Together, we will show the world what can be done when we come together with purpose, generosity and intentionality for the greatness of our city.”
The ceremony events for Saturday include a musical prelude by Elegba Folklore Society, opening remarks from key officials, keynote speaker Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and the unveiling of the Arthur Ashe Boulevard sign with confetti canons to follow. The remaining events include:
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Unveiling Ceremony & Exhibition Opening, Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Virginia Museum of History & Culture – Join us as we make history with the City of Richmond; city, state, and national dignitaries will officially unveil the re-named Boulevard.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Community Celebration, Saturday, June 22, 1-5 p.m., Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center – Celebrate with the community and participate in sponsored tennis clinics for kids and adults.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard After-Party, Saturday, June 22, 8-11 p.m., The Graduate Richmond: the official Arthur Ashe Boulevard Celebration host – Cap off three days of excitement around Arthur Ashe and the City of Richmond.
To learn more about the Arthur Ashe Boulevard naming or the schedule of events, visit here.