State Watch

Arthur Ashe statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue tagged with White Lives Matter graffiti

A statue of civil rights activist and tennis player Arthur Ashe, the sole monument of a black man on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, was vandalized on Wednesday with “white lives matter” graffiti, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported

In a video reported by the newspaper, a reporter asked the man vandalizing the statue why he was spray painting “white lives matter” on the statue. 

“Do not all lives matter?” the man responded. “Why is it okay to spray paint on this statue ‘black lives matter,’ not ‘white lives matter.’ What’s the difference?

“I’m not a racist, I just don’t agree with desecrating our property,” the man added. 

The reporter pointed out in the video that “black lives matter” seemed to be painted on the monument over existing graffiti that said “white lives matter.” 

When he was asked to identify himself, the man said he was “everybody.” 

“Everybody here that’s paid to f—ing live here that’s tired of seeing this bullshit,” he said. 

The vandalism of Ashe’s statue follows the defacing of other statutes in the city, mainly of tributes to Confederate figures, amid protests over racial inequality and police brutality. 

David Harris Jr., Ashe’s nephew who helped rename the city’s Boulevard for Ashe last year, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he was not surprised to hear his uncle’s statue had been targeted with vandalism. 

“There are people who have an agenda,” he said. “Some of them are still settling on hate and discord because they see the system changing before them, and they’re lacking influence and control over it.”

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) has slated a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue for removal. 

Virginia officials reportedly installed concrete barriers around the Lee statue Wednesday after protesters topped several other statues in Richmond. 

Statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham and Christopher Columbus have been torn down amid protests.

Tags Arthur Ashe Black Lives Matter George Floyd protests Monument Avenue richmond Robert E. Lee Virginia

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