RVA is home to one of the country’s most ‘unintentionally horrifying statues’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Nearly 20 years after the debate on where to honor tennis great and humanitarian Arthur Ashe captivated Richmond, the statue that ended up on Monument Avenue is still creating a bit of controversy.

Mentalfloss.com listed the Ashe statue as number three on its “Unintentionally Horrifying Statues of Famous People” list.

“In 1996, Ashe’s hometown of Richmond erected a statue in his likeness on Monument Avenue despite controversy that the tennis great didn’t belong amid the existing congregation of Confederate icons. But the bronze memorial, cast by Paul di Pasquale, is bizarre for more than just its location. In an attempt to capture Ashe’s dedication to social activism, he is shown holding books and a tennis racket high above the outstretched arms of a gaggle of children, frozen forever in a state of seemingly mocking them for their lack of height,” the website noted.

What do you think about the Ashe statue? Click here to email us your comments or leave them on the CBS 6 Facebook page. We may use your comments on the news.

We also found these older stories about the Ashe statue in the CBS 6 video vault.

This news clip is from December 1994

This news clip is from July 1995


  • Marcus

    It’s usually surrounded by weeds so with any luck some kudzu will creep up the sides of the monument and make it disappear.

  • WorkingMan

    IT NEEDS TO BE SMASHED TO PIECES. That man was no historical hero. Just a good tennis player.

  • RVA Excapee (the way RPS spells it)

    Ashe deserved better but the racist city council and its RMA cronies put up this abortion instead. They only did it to pollute Monument AVE’s Confederate statues. Soon their racist successors will want to pull down the historical statues for one of The Dear Leader, the great and powerful, bringer of Obamacare. RVA will follow Detroit soon under Comrade Mayor Mugabe Jones and Comrade Carpetbagger Terry McAwful. Long live the Central Soviet.

  • Joe

    I’ve always thought it was just a guy that took books from kids and was threatening them with a racquet.

    • jenny

      Lol that was my first impression too. Better to have posed him in a tennis position, about to hit the ball.

  • Steve Chappell

    I thought the children were looking upward gleefully. Cheering maybe their champion of books and tennis? To suggest the height thing is ludicrous, they are children and everybody is taller than they are. Get a life people and quitcha moanin.

  • Tina

    The statue in my opinion, is representing Ashe teaching children that anything can be accomplished by following your dreams, and education is the key. As far as Monument Avenue goes, well it is a monument so it belongs there with the rest of them regardless of why they were important people.

  • L. D. Hewlett

    Arthur Ashe was a great man who worked his way up from almost nothing to become what he turned out to be. I am proud to say HE WAS A RICHMONDER!

  • jewell

    I think people are reading too deeply into it…..would never have thought of the statue as a mockery

  • David

    I think A. Ashe is worthy of having a statue in Richmond although I do find the company he keeps with the other monument ave statues to be more than a little out of place. Artistically, every time I see that statue I always think he looks like he is pummeling kids with a tennis racket and a book. He even has a scowl on his face. It certainly isn’t a piece that conjures a warm feeling when I see it.

  • whatthefuckiswrongwithpeople

    Why is this even an issue? We have bigger problems than this in the City of Richmond, i.e. Dwight Jones. Everyone is focused on Obama what is the mayor doing for this city?

  • Tina Taylor

    He was not allowed to practice on the “whites only” courts of the public tennis courts in Richmond during the era. Many black children of the time could not read or write and were discouraged from doing well. He is not holding these things from them but rather offering this to them. Learn the history.

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