Arthur Ashe Blvd.
2/15/2019, 6 a.m.
We applaud the Richmond City Council for voting earlier this week to rename the Boulevard in honor of Richmond native and tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
We are thrilled that the city will have such a visible and enduring salute to the late Mr. Ashe, an activist and humanitarian whose advocacy in the areas of human rights, HIV and AIDS awareness and education and student mentorship brought real results.
There is also a measure of poetic justice in this street name change. Growing up in apartheid Richmond, Mr. Ashe wasn’t allowed to play on the whites-only public tennis courts in Byrd Park because he was African-American. Those tennis courts are situated along what is now Arthur Ashe Boulevard, a symbol for Richmonders and visitors alike to see that it is possible to overcome considerable obstacles and advance in one’s pursuits. Mr. Ashe’s hard road to glory is a story that we believe will inspire and propel young Richmonders now and in the future.
Streets, like neighborhoods, have a certain ebb and flow through the decades, with a dynamism and energy connected to the circumstances of the businesses and residents located along them. Take for example Broad Street in Downtown and Brookland Park Boulevard in North Side. Both thoroughfares have experienced a rise, fall and current revival from the 1960s to the 1980s through today.
We hope the Boulevard, which has had its own share of ups and downs, will remain vibrant under the name Arthur Ashe Boulevard and not suffer the neglect inflicted upon many streets across the nation named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We believe Arthur Ashe Boulevard will remain buoyant with the continued nurturing of its residents and businesses and the attention and care of city government and private interests.
We also hope the Ashe family can see how much its beloved husband, father, uncle and friend means to the city of Richmond and our residents.
Arthur Ashe Boulevard has a nice ring to it. This is an honor we all can be proud of.