RICHMOND, Va. — The national spotlight will shine on RVA and the legacy of tennis great Arthur Ashe June 20-22, when citizens, leaders, community organizers and members of the Ashe family celebrate the re-naming of Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
In addition to an official ribbon-cutting to re-name the roughly 2.5-mile Boulevard in honor of the late tennis champion, the celebratory events will re-introduce Ashe’s inspiring life story to Richmond and offer a variety of family-friendly events.
The official ribbon-cutting and street unveiling ceremony, presented by Dominion Energy, will be held at Saturday, June 22, at 11 a.m. at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture (VMHC). The celebratory event will tie in with VMHC’s exhibit commemorating the 400th anniversary of the first arrival of the first African slaves to English North America in Jamestown.
David Harris, nephew of the late Arthur Ashe and a key driver in the Boulevard’s re-naming, said, “This is an extremely moving time for my family, but I think it’s also a tremendous success for Richmond as a progressive city. 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.”
Dontrese Brown, Arthur Ashe Boulevard Initiative lead and executive director of the EDGE Center for Career Development at Randolph Macon College, added, “This is not just about a re-naming, this is about the relentless efforts to build a legacy that focuses on our unified collaboration of great thinkers, great doers and great people. That in itself is going to help us transform the dynamics of our communities, empower our youth and lead us to heights much greater than what we could ever achieve alone. Let’s not wait for history; let’s make history.”
The full schedule of community events—all of which are free, family-friendly and open to the public—include:
• 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 Tournament & 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, Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Virginia Museum of History and Culture – Join us as we make history with the City of Richmond; A-list celebrities, city officials, and government dignitaries will officially unveil the re-named Boulevard.
• Arthur Ashe Boulevard Neighborhood Block Party, 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.
To learn more about the Arthur Ashe Boulevard re-naming or the schedule of events, visit arthurasheblvd.com.