RICHMOND, Va. — The City of Richmond is planning a three-day celebration to commemorate the renaming of the Boulevard to Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
Beginning Thursday, June 20, the city will hold several family-friendly events from bowling and movies at the park, culminating with an official sign unveiling on Saturday, June 22.
Ashe, a Richmond native, was once barred from playing tennis on the courts of Byrd Park as a child because he was African American. He went on to be the first and only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Now, Arthur Ashe Boulevard will span the length of the current Boulevard from Brookland Parkway and Westwood Avenue to those tennis courts at Byrd Park.
“Arthur Ashe is one of Richmond’s true champions,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “Not only on the court, as one of the world’s greatest tennis players, but off the court, as a champion for equality and social justice. He is more than worthy of this honor.”
The week of events to celebrate Ashe are all free and open to the public and designed to re-introduce Ashe’s inspiring life story.
The full schedule of community events:
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Social Justice Forum, Thursday, June 20, 7-9 p.m., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Learn about social justice and find out how it was part of Arthur Ashe’s legacy.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Tennis Under the Lights Event & Movies at the Park, Friday, June 21, 6-9 p.m., Byrd Park – Join local tennis organizations in celebration of Ashe’s sport; stick around for an evening of movies and other festivities.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Kick-off Celebration & Bowling Party, Friday, June 21, 7 p.m. to midnight, River City Roll – Enjoy kids and family bowling night (7-9 p.m.) as well as live music (9 p.m. to midnight) at this Scott’s Addition bowling alley along Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Donations suggested.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Unveiling Ceremony & Exhibition Opening, Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Virginia Museum of History & Culture – Join us as we make history with the City of Richmond; city, state, and national dignitaries will officially unveil the re-named Boulevard.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard Community Celebration, Saturday, June 22, 1-5 p.m., Arthur Ashe Jr. Athletic Center – Celebrate with the community and participate in sponsored tennis clinics for kids and adults.
- Arthur Ashe Boulevard After-Party, Saturday, June 22, 8-11 p.m., The Graduate Richmond: the official Arthur Ashe Boulevard Celebration host – Cap off three days of excitement around Arthur Ashe and the City of Richmond.
In addition to state and local elected leaders and members of Ashe’s family, Civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis, (D-Georgia) will be in attendance.
The congressman will deliver the keynote address.
“This is an extremely moving time for my family, but I think it’s also a tremendous success for Richmond as a progressive city,” said David Harris, nephew of the late Arthur Ashe and a key supporter in the Boulevard’s re-naming. “Not only will everyone be coming together to celebrate our local, world-renowned tennis legend, but we’re also putting a stake in the ground for Arthur Ashe’s legacy of social justice, which is good for all of us.”