Mr. Ashe

8/9/2018, 6 a.m.

There’s no question that Richmond native and tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr. deserves greater recognition in his hometown.

His laudatory actions both on and off the court merit a salute that will be visible not only now, but for future generations. His quiet activism and humanitarian efforts brought results in the areas of human rights, education and student mentorship, and greater awareness about and funding to combat HIV and AIDS.

So to rename the Boulevard in Richmond for Mr. Ashe is a no-brainer.

But that should be merely the first step.

In this latest effort to honor Mr. Ashe, the city should go further and do the right thing: Move his statue on Monument Avenue to the intersection of Monument Avenue and the Boulevard that we hope shortly will bear his name.

Yes, that means taking down the statue of Confederate Stonewall Jackson that currently sits in the center of that intersection and replacing it with a true hero — Arthur Ashe Jr.

We believe it would be an affront to Mr. Ashe’s accomplishments and memory to have a statue to a Confederate traitor, racist and moral and military failure on a street bearing Mr. Ashe’s name.

We also don’t want to think that City Council members and city officials would back such a plan to rename the Boulevard after Mr. Ashe as a consolation prize for Mayor Levar M. Stoney’s wimpy Monument Avenue Commission’s failure to recommend that all the statues to Confederate treasonists be removed.

We are reminded on this solemn first anniversary of the horrific, deadly rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville how these statues are more than innocent representations of history. They remain insidious symbols of hate and inhumanity.

And now Richmond will spend a third expensive cache of thousands of dollars on Aug. 19 because neo-Confederates and Ku Klux Klan sympathizers want to hold another rally on Monument Avenue — this time to defend against the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue.

When will Richmond officials learn that in order to move ahead, we must rid ourselves of these malignant statues?

Monument Avenue and the Boulevard should belong to true heroes like Mr. Ashe.