Hundreds gather as Richmond’s Boulevard officially becomes Arthur Ashe Boulevard

Updated: Jun. 22, 2019 at 7:40 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s official: Richmond’s Boulevard is now Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

Under a blazing sun, hundreds of people came together Saturday morning to honor one of Richmond's most famous sons.

"Arthur Ashe was big in the 'hood because of the way he was with people," said Donald Young from Delaware.

This is why many of them, including a few political heavy hitters, filled the front lawn of the Virginia Museum of History and Culture for a street renaming celebration of the athlete and activist.

Caden Grayson came from Dinwiddie County with his mother.

"My mom taught me about the contributions he has made to Richmond and how he was a champion outside of the tennis court and all the things he has done," said Grayson.

"I thought it was very necessary to be here and for my son to be here," said Caden's mother, Tanya Grayson.

Like any celebration, there was dancing, singing and mingling with several familiar faces.

However, this was more of a party with a purpose, and that purpose was to recognize the achievements of Arthur Ashe, who rose above racism and other adversities here in his hometown to not only become a world-famous athlete, but also an equally famous activist - something Congressman John Lewis knows something about.

“Never, ever give up. Never ever get lost in a sea of despair. Keep the faith. Keep your eyes on the prize,” said Lewis.

The Georgia representative and civil rights leader served as keynote speaker of the special occasion, reminding the crowd of where this country has been and where it can go based on our community involvement.

It is a lesson 12-year-old Makenzie Nelson took to heart.

“I learned that you have a voice and that you can use it,” said Nelson. “Just try your best. Don’t give up for anything.”

It is possibly a lesson many people of all ages will always remember each time they travel the new Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Young.

The celebration continued Saturday night with an after-party at the Graduate Hotel.

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