Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to Take Down Robert E. Lee Statue in Richmond


USA TODAY

The imposing statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be removed "as soon as possible" from Richmond, VA, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday, promising that the state will no longer preach a "false version of history".

The announcement has been widely praised by Black leaders and activists, and their allies, as a key achievement, but not the finish line, on the road to equality.

Wes Bellamy, a former Charlottesville city councilman, said "the announcement that one of the nation's most iconic tributes to the Confederacy would be taken down was felt as a divine intervention. "We killed Goliath,” leftist Bellamy said.

"I always hoped this day would come, but I never fully believed it would," said Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-VA). She added: "When the statue finally disappears, I will feel like an incredible burden has been lifted from my shoulders and I can finally breathe and heal."

The bronze equestrian statue, which sits on a huge pedestal on state property, will be moved to a warehouse while the state of Virginia works with the community to determine its future, announced the governor during a press briefing on Thursday. 

"You see, in Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. A man that said the Civil War was about the rights of the state and not the evils of slavery. No one believes that anymore," Northam said.

The statues on Monument Avenue Historic District are among the most prominent collection of Confederate memorials in the nation. Lee's 21-foot sculpture stands on a pedestal nearly twice as high in a grassy circle 200 feet in diameter.

In addition, the Mayor of the former Confederate capital Levar Stoney announced that he will seek to remove the other four Confederate statues along Monument Avenue Historic District. 

Source: USA TODAY

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