Arthur Ashe Statue Defaced With 'White Lives Matter'

'I was disheartened about it,' nephew of tennis legend says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2020 8:25 AM CDT

(Newser) – A man who told witnesses his name was "Everybody" vandalized a statue of Arthur Ashe in Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, spray-painting "White Lives Matter" and "WLM" on the monument to the black tennis legend. Witnesses say the man, who is white, returned after somebody painted "BLM" over his paint and tried to clean off the fresh letters. He asked "Why is it OK to spray-paint on this statue 'Black Lives Matter' and not 'White Lives Matter'? What’s the difference?" The statue of Ashe, the only black man to win Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open, is one of six on the city's Monument Avenue, USA Today notes. The others are of Confederate figures, including one of Jefferson Davis that was toppled last week.

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By Wednesday night, volunteers had cleaned the "White Lives Matter" off the Ashe statue. Ashe's nephew, David Harris Jr., arrived at the statue after receiving calls about the vandalism. "I was disheartened about it," he tells the New York Times. "People are outraged that people choose to vandalize a statue that represents peace, prosperity, inclusion, education, and the life and true fabric of the country: children." He says his uncle—a civil rights activist who was arrested during a 1985 anti-apartheid rally in Washington, DC—would have supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Ashe died in 1993. "I don’t think he would be too surprised, but I think he would understand the nature of what the people are upset about, what the people are fighting for," Harris says. (Read more Arthur Ashe stories.)

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