A Hometown Hero's Place

Arthur Ashe, the first black Wimbledon champion, was always a fighter: against apartheid, for AIDS research and for tennis glory. And now, more than two years after his death from complications of AIDS. another battle involving Ashe has been resolved. Last week, after intense debate, the Richmond, Va., city council voted 7-0 to honor the hometown hero with a 24-foot bronze statue by sculptor Paul Di Pasquale. The controversy was over the selected location: Monument Avenue, among statues of Confederate heroes like Robert E. Lee.

Some whites argued that the boulevard was no place for an athlete of any race. Many blacks had opposed the site as well. believing that Ashe's legacy would be diminished by the company of slave owners. But others, including Ashe's family, were pleased with the site. Says former Virginia governor L. Douglas Wilder, "Monument Avenue is Virginia's avenue of respect."