THE RICHMOND City Council is holding a public hearing today on where to erect a statue honoring tennis star Arthur Ashe, who was born in and buried in Richmond.
Some want his statue on Monument Avenue, the city's heroic thoroughfare, where a statue of Robert E. Lee has stood since 1890 -- joined by J. E. B. Stuart in 1907 and Stonewall Jackson in 1919, among others.
Some other present-day Virginians prefer a site on another thoroughfare for Ashe, the Boulevard.
Here are two views:
"An Ashe statue on Monument would strip his memory of context and deprive it of meaning . . . We prefer the Boulevard -- where possible sites include the Ashe Center, the intersection with Broad, or in Byrd Park, near the tennis courts where Ashe should have perfected his game. An Ashe statue could inspire the transformation of the Boulevard into a promenade linking Richmond's historical, cultural, and athletic treasures." -- The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
"Richmond could not craft a stronger symbol of racial reconciliation than placing a black man of Ashe's heroic stature among the Confederate monuments. Ashe -- chased out of his native Richmond by racism -- will lend color and a sense of balance to a street that has come to symbolize Richmond's bitter legacy of racial tension." -- Michael Paul Williams, columnist, the Richmond Times-Dispatch.