A monument dedicated to Black tennis legend and civil rights activist Arthur Ashe in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia, was vandalized with the words “White Lives Matter.”

Authorities said they learned of the vandalism early Wednesday morning. The base of the statue was spray-painted with the “White Lives Matter” phrase and the initials “WLM,” and someone later spray-painted “BLM” over the initials.

By Wednesday, a handful of community members had already begun removing the paint.

The incident drew crowds of people, including Paul DiPasquale, the artist who created the sculpture.

The statue of Ashe, who died in 1993, is one of six on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, though the other five are of Confederate figures Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and Matthew Fontaine Maury.

The incident comes as several Confederate statues in the city have been defaced, pulled down or scheduled for removal amid recent protests over the death of George Floyd and racial injustice.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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