A monument of legendary Black tennis star Arthur Ashe is now the only remaining statue standing at the historic Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., the former capital of the Confederacy.
According to CNN, on Wednesday (September 8), a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed, becoming the latest controversial monument removed in the wake of a national reckoning on race over the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and more.
Ashe was born in Richmond and shattered records in Tennis while also championing civil rights. His monument was added to the street in 1996, CNN reports.
Activists who gathered on Wednesday to witness Lee’s statue removal praised the move, saying it was one more step toward progress for racial equality.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam had announced plans to remove the Confederate general’s monument last year, but it was delayed by a court battle with Richmond residents who sued, arguing that an 1890 deed and 1889 General Assembly joint resolution prohibited the governor from directing the removal of a state monument from state property.
The Virginia Supreme Court recently ruled against the residents.
In a statement, Northam said Lee was the last standing Confederate statue on the historic avenue. Other Confederate statues on the street were previously removed.
"The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people," Northam said, according to CNN. "It is time to display history as history, and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future."
(Photo: AP Photo/Steve Helber)