Using Historical Landmarks: Arthur Ashe Monument, Richmond, Virginia

Home Education Landmark Lesson Using Historical Landmarks: Arthur Ashe Monument, Richmond, Virginia

Using Historical Landmarks: Arthur Ashe Monument, Richmond, Virginia

In this lesson, students will study the contributions of Arthur Ashe to sports and social change. Students will investigate the controversy surrounding the installment of a monument on Monument Ave, which includes Ashe among Confederate figures. Students will offer critiques of the monument and draw conclusions about the choices made by the sculpture. Students will analyze the inclusiveness of our city’s monuments. Students will design a new monument to Ashe to illustrate his accomplishments.



Richmond , VA

Type of Landmark

Monument or memorial


20th century
African American
Arts and Culture
Civil Rights

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to analyze the arguments for the placement of the Arthur Ashe monument.
  • Students will be able to analyze the design of the Arthur Ashe monument and compare it to those of the Confederates on Monument Avenue.
  • Students will be able to design a monument that represents Arthur Ashe’s achievements.
  • Students will be able to write a one paragraph reflection, answering one of the given prompts


Suggested Instructional Procedures


  1. Display photos of the Arthur Ashe Monument. Give everyone a timed two minutes to react to it and describe in writing the statue and anything they think or feel when looking at it. 
  2. Gather student answers in a whole group discussion and put them on a Plus and Delta chart for what they like and feel could improve.
  3. Activate prior knowledge: Have students illustrate or write what they know about Arthur Ashe, Jr. Discuss the essential knowledge. Ashe was the first African American to win a major men’s tennis singles championship. He was also an author and eloquent spokesperson for social change.
  4. Share objectives.
  5. Discuss vocabulary.
  6. Provide students with copies of the Arthur Ashe Monument Groundbreaking Ceremony Program - Earth Design Associates Plan broadside. Have students analyze the sources using Attack the Source.


  1. Share photographs in PowerPoint, of the monuments along Monument Avenue with the class. Have students answer the questions: What is the purpose of a monument?  What do most of these monuments have in common?  Which ones are different, and why? What do they think about the inclusion of Arthur Ashe along Monument Ave?
  2. Divide and conquer the news sources from around the time of the Arthur Ashe monument installation. Have students complete their graphic organizers as they read their source.
  3. Share findings and have students complete the organizer explaining the different opinions and actions of the people involved in the Arthur Ashe monument. Discuss how the statue was originally designed to be at ground level, and ask students if they think people would react differently to the design if it seen from that perspective.
  4. Review the accomplishments of Arthur Ashe by turning and talking.
  5. Have students turn and talk to discuss ways they would choose to depict Ashe. Ask a few students to share.
  6. In small groups, have students complete an image search for inspiration.
  7. Have students design their own monument to Arthur Ashe.


  1. Model giving feedback using the Plus/Delta chart.
  2. Put a Plus/Delta chart next to each student’s design. Discuss how each design should depict Ashe’s accomplishments as an athlete, author, and/or spokesperson.
  3. Have students complete a carousel walk, by having table groups rotate around the room to view all the designs. Students will leave feedback for their peers on their Plus/Delta charts.


Monument: A building, statue, etc., that honors a person or event

Eloquent: To speak or write with strong command of a language.

Social Change: An alteration to the social order of society.

Inscription: A saying written on a monument, usually describing or commemorating what is being memorialized.

Achievements: The things which a person or society has accomplished, usually through hard work and effort.

Primary Source: An account of an event written in the past.

Secondary Source: An analysis of an event in the past based off of primary source evidence.

End of Lesson Assessment

  • Written reflection:
    • Choose one of the prompts:
      • Write a critique of the Arthur Ashe monument by Paul DiPasquale.
      • Make an argument for why your design, or someone else’s from class, should replace the current monument of Ashe on Monument Avenue.
      • Write a paragraph explaining the different stances people took during the planning of the Arthur Ashe monument.
      • Complete the following sentence starters: I learned that… I liked… One connection I made was… I didn’t like… Today’s activity made me realize…
  • Review objectives.