September 27, 2020

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Arthur Ashe statue in Virginia vandalized with ‘White Lives Matter’ graffiti

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A statue of tennis legend Arthur Ashe in Richmond, Virginia was defaced on Wednesday. The words “White Lives Matter,” as well as the letters “WLM,” were spray painted on the figure.

The statue of Ashe is one of several that lines Monument Avenue in downtown Richmond. The other five celebrate figures from the Confederacy, according to USA Today: Jefferson Davis, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Matthew Fontaine Maury, and J.E.B. Stuart.

The letters “BLM” as well as “Black Lives Matter” were eventually spray painted in red on the statue to cover the “White Lives Matter” messages.

The statue of Davis — on the same street as the one of Ashe — was pulled down last week in the wake of protests calling for racial equality following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer last month. The days are likely numbered for the Lee statue as well. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on June 3 that it should be removed “as soon as possible,” according to USA Today.

Additionally, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is planning a proposal to have the other four Confederate statues removed from the city.

Ashe is the only African American man to win the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon in his career. The Richmond native died in 1993 at the age of 49 after contracting HIV during a heart surgery procedure.