FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2019
Contact: Betsy Edwards
NORFOLK, Va. – Richmond Magazine was named as the recipient of the 2018 Award for Journalistic Integrity and Community Service–the Virginia Press Association’s highest honor–at the association’s annual awards banquet Saturday in Norfolk.
Richmond Magazine won the award for a commemorative issue dedicated to the life of Arthur Ashe.
The judge wrote about the issue: “Arthur Ashe achieved fortune and fame in his sport, in a time in which it was incredibly hard for a person of color to do so. He lived a life defined by grace and dignity. To commemorate such a life in one magazine issue is a daunting task. The writers and editors of Richmond Magazine have met that challenge.”
When judging the entry, the judge noted a slight anxiety because often times: “I have found commemorative magazine issues dedicated to a favorite son or daughter to be typically light on journalism and heavy on tribute – puff pieces with a glossy cover, showering unfiltered praise upon the subject and the community. I was pleasantly surprised, delighted, in fact, to discover that was not the case with the Arthur Ashe commemorative issue.”
Continuing their comments, the judge said: “It is impossible to tell the story of a young black athlete coming of age in the 1950s and 60s in the South without dealing with the issue of race.”
The Arthur Ashe issue from Richmond Magazine “deals with race fairly and directly, siting his life squarely in the historical context of Richmond, where as a black child there were only four tennis courts on which he was allowed to play – all in Brook Field Park, where his father served as caretaker. The decision to bulldoze that park, and build a post office in its place, made without public input or notice, is concisely reported and perfectly framed in the politics (and racism) of the time.
Arthur Ashe is something of a tragic hero in America. His elegant battle with racism throughout his entire career is perhaps the largest part of his legacy, as it should be. His death from AIDS at age 49, the result of a blood transfusion (something that could not happen today), provided an early and tragic ending, as was the case with so many prominent black figures of that era. This issue does not shy away from that, either.
Arthur Ashe’s story is perhaps best summed up by the efforts to name the ‘Boulevard’ for him. The issue reports that two previous efforts, in 1993 and 2003, failed. I have been informed, post-publication, that the current effort has succeeded, and, in addition, the exceptional Arthur Ashe family tree, which dates from 1735, will be given a permanent home in the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. This commemorative issue, published in December 2018, certainly played a role in both decisions.”
The judging for the 2018 contest was conducted by journalists in Iowa.
For more information about the contest results go to: https://bit.ly/2GWijjW