“If I can do it, you can do it. That was his message.”


On February 6, 1993 Arthur Ashe died of AIDS-related pneumonia in New York at the age of 49. His body was laid in state at the Governor’s Mansion in his hometown of Richmond, VA. He was the first person to lie in state at the mansion since the Confederate general “Stonewall” Jackson in 1863. More than 5,000 people lined up to walk past his casket.

Four days later, more than 6,000 people attended his funeral. Former U.N. ambassador and mayor of Atlanta Andrew Young delivered the eulogy.

Click here to view a video of the speeches made during the funeral by a number of dignitaries including former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown, New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Civil Rights activist Jesse Jackson and Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder.

Below are several quotes from the service about Arthur Ashe’s legacy:

“No one has been more open to others… he had a quiet soul amid a very busy and noisy life. He lived and carried that grace and dignity, setting an example for so many people.”

“If I can do it, you can do it. That was his message.” 

-Douglas Wilder

“Arthur Ashe. He walked with kings but never lost the common touch. Arthur Ashe. An extraordinary man who accomplished extraordinary things.”

-Ron Brown

“I knew him as a man. A man of palpable integrity, a man of unshakable conviction.”

“Arthur Ashe stands alone, set apart from all others, an authentically transcendent figure. Brilliant but genuinely self-effacing; assertive but never judgmental. He embraced global human rights issues and causes with a tenacity never diminished by the illness that ultimately claimed his life.”

-Randall Robinson (founder of TransAfrica)

“Arthur spent his life insuring that young African-Americans could succeed in whichever career they chose. Arthur Ashe accepted the fame that came with his success, but he was great because he also accepted the responsibilities. If there was ever a man who proved civility is not a weakness, he proved that you don’t have to be loud to be strong.” 

“It is said that service to others is the rent we pay for space on earth. Arthur Ashe left us with his rent paid in full. Let him not look down and find any of us in arrears.

-David Dinkins

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