Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was set to announce the removal of a racist symbol of the confederacy from a public space Thursday which would be counted as a major win for civil rights activists, the Associated Press reports.
The statue of Robert E. Lee, which sits a main thoroughfare in the city, will be moved as calls for its removal have been listened to after years of efforts to take it down.
That is a symbol for so many people, black and otherwise, of a time gone by of hate and oppression and being made to feel less than,” Del. Jay Jones, an African American state legislator from Norfolk told the AP.
The statue will be moved from its pedestal and placed in storage. Northam’s administration will decide on a new location for it later, said a local official who spoke on conditions of anonymity.
The statue of the confederate general is one of five similar to it along Monument Avenue that have been strewn with graffiti during massive protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he wants the other four removed as well, giving more energy to activist efforts to get rid of confederate symbols around the city.
“I appreciate the recommendations of the Monument Avenue Commission — those were the appropriate recommendations at the time,” Stoney said in a statement on Wednesday (June 3). “But times have changed, and removing these statues will allow the healing process to begin for so many Black Richmonders and Virginians. Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy — it is filled with diversity and love for all — and we need to demonstrate that.”
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