Community members honor life and legacy of RVA native Arthur Ashe

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Community members of all ages and backgrounds gathered on June 12 to honor the life and legacy of Richmond native Arthur Ashe.

The “Birthday Bash” was a celebration of Ashe’s 74th birthday and the official unveiling of a new mural in his honor. Not only was this a beautiful addition to the area but a recognition of Richmond’s rich history.

“We go into the area and look at people who helped to create the area and we bring them back to life through art,” said Sir James L. Thornhill, the artist who painted the mural. and a member of the U.N.I.T.Y Street Project.

Ashe, who was renowned as a tennis player, activist and community member was honored today through tennis lessons, African dance and touching words from family members.

At a time when he wasn’t even allowed to play in certain parks, now people of all races gathered to honor his achievements.

“When you look out and see the people, the crowd of people … he didn’t get this kind of recognition in this city before,” said Thornhill.

He said that this mural brought positive energy to the city of Richmond through Ashe’s words and by shedding light on his accomplishments.

When they come here, they see art, they see Arthur Ashe. When they walk through the tunnel you see the timeline of history,” said Thornhill.


We spoke with his sister who said that this was the perfect chance to honor him.

“It’s how you remember him and what you would want to do in his honor and today is the perfect day to do that,” Loretta Harris said. “We’re carrying on what needs to be done and he would be pleased with that. He would be very pleased with today.”

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