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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Governor Ralph Northam Orders Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue in Virginia

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The Governor of the state of Virginia, Ralph Northam has announced the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, cited in the city of Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. 

The statue, which had been erected in 1890, “has been there for a long time. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. So, we’re taking it down and will be put into storage, the governor said.

Memorials to the Confederacy, which fought to keep black people as slaves, have long stirred controversy. Governor Ralph made the decision after days of angry protests in Richmond and across the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered by a white police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Protesters had made the statue a focal point, calling for it and other Confederate statues to be taken down. The Confederacy fought the civil war largely to preserve slavery and subjugate African Americans as property.

In Sept. 16, 2017, State Police kept a small group of Confederate protesters separated from counter demonstrators in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, the Confederate statue in Charlottesville, that became a rallying point for white nationalists, was found vandalized Wednesday, July 24, 2019, with an expletive against President Donald Trump.

The decision also came a day after Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney, announced he would seek to remove the other four Confederate statues on Monument Avenue, a prestigious residential street and National Historic Landmark district.

Together, the decisions mark a striking departure from recent years when, even after a violent rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017 and other Confederate monuments started falling around the country, Virginia did not make the same changes.

Northam said the statue, property of the state of Virginia, will come down immediately and will be stored while a decision is made on what to do with it.

Why do you think it took this long for this decision to be made?

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