Speaking of the Arthur Ashe Statue…

July 4, 2015

By Cole

Karen’s probably somewhere shooting off fireworks for the 4th, so I’ll fill you in on the latest with Arthur Ashe.

On Thursday as Karen was typing her previous post, somewhere in Richmond, Doug Wilder, a former Richmond mayor and Virginia governor (the first black man ever to be elected a governor in the U.S., no less), was tweeting about the weeds growing around the weird Arthur Ashe statue.

All the other Monument Avenue statues of Confederate generals are pristine. How quintessentially Richmond.

The Ashe statue was erected before my time in 1996, but I can just hear its staunch opponents when they finally gave in to letting a black man, a mere tennis player, stand among their Confederate generals.

“OK, fine. You can put your silly old statue on Monument Avenue. Just don’t be expecting us to keep it dusted and polished!”

Wilder’s tweets hit the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch Friday morning, and by day’s end, the city had cleaned up around Arthur Ashe.

Without Confederate flag kerfuffle putting the spotlight on the South right now, I have no doubt Wilder’s tweets would have been dismissed as sour grapes. Those weeds didn’t grow overnight. If the powers that be had any respect for the Ashe statue, it would have been maintained along with all the others. But better late than never.

Meanwhile, in another part of town…

I learned there’s yet another big Confederate monument. It honors Soldiers and Sailors and stands in Libby Hill Park. Thursday or early Friday, some fool scrawled in red spray paint what might be the word “cracker” and the initials “RBGz” with an up-arrow beside it.

Let’s not get into what this illegible, wit-free gibberish says about the quality of a Richmond education.

“Cracker” may be a reference to Southern white racists but, according to the Times-Dispatch, “RBG” could refer to a rap album, a Pan-African flag, or Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I’m going with “Rebel Billy Goats” or “Really Bad Grafitti.”

So far, this bit of vandalism has no suspects, so at least they got their getaway right.

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