12 Dec A Place for Us
Of the extremely limited public spaces where black children could frolic in segregation-era Richmond, Brook Field Park was the chief choice. Among the youngsters who roved its grounds, swam in its pool in sweltering summers and played on its tennis courts and baseball fields, there was a thin boy with a quiet nature named Arthur Ashe Jr. The world remembers Ashe as a legendary athlete who became the first African-American man to win the U.S. Open, a civil rights activist arrested more than once, and a humanitarian whose life was cut short by an illness that, at the time, few understood but most interpreted as a death sentence. For those who grew up alongside him in Richmond, Ashe was one of the many kids whose favorite haunt was Brook Field.