As monuments fall, how does the world reckon with a racist past?
Heroes of the past are considered dishonorable today. Should these relics be removed or preserved as mementos of history?
Richmond, Virginia’s city hall was packed on July 17th, 1995 with people who had come from as far away as Florida for a hearing on a proposed monument to the late Arthur Ashe, an African American tennis champion and humanitarian who was born in the city. The question was whether to honor Ashe on Richmond’s famous Monument Avenue, which had celebrated General Robert E. Lee since 1890; other Confederate leaders were added in decades that followed.
Former Virginia Governor Douglass L. Wilder, the first African American elected governor in the United States since Reconstruction and a longtime friend of Ashe, had lobbied relentlessly for the statue. He and other supporters had been met by ferocious blowback, primarily by people