The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee will no longer be occupying its current location. Currently sitting on state property at Monument Ave, in Richmond, Virginia, Governor Ralph Northman held a press conference on Thursday where he announced the official removal of the statue. The statue will be removed “as soon as possible.”
It was revealed during the announcement that the statue will be moved to storage as Northman’s administration works with “the community to determine its future.”
Governor Northman talked about the message the statue sends to those who visit Virginia and also the children and said, “You see, in Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. One that pretends the Civil War was about ‘state rights’ and not the evils of slavery. No one believes that any longer.”
He continued, “And in 2020 we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people, not in 2020. I want us to tell that little girl the truth, yes that statue’s been there for a long time, but it was wrong then, and it’s wrong now. So we’re taking it down.”
The Governor’s announcement to remove the statue comes after Richmond’s Mayor, Levar Stoney, announced he would be seeking to remove the other four Confederate statues along Monument Avenue. These decisions come in the wake of the recent protests that have been sweeping the nation since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Governor Northman continued to state, “We put things on pedestals when we want people to look up. Think about the message that this sends to people coming from around the world to visit the capital city of one of the largest states in our country.”
Rev. Robert W. Lee IV, a descendant of Robert E. Lee, showed his support for the removal of the statue and said, “Today is a day of justice not for my family but the families of countless enslaved persons who continually have fought for justice both long before and long after the Civil War. Though I know the statue’s eventual promised removal won’t fix the issues we face it is a sign that sentiments and hearts are changing toward justice.”
For some time, residents have been petitioning for the removal of the confederate statues to be removed off of display in Virginia. Back in 2017, a petition was started to replace one of the statues with a statue with Virginia native and legendary musician Missy Elliott.