Isle of Wight County holding public meeting on future of Confederate monument

Isle of Wight

The Confederate Monument that stands outside the Isle of Wight Courthouse complex was erected in 1905 (WAVY photo/Cortez Grayson)

ISLE OF WIGHT, Va. (WAVY) — Isle of Wight County leaders have scheduled a public hearing on whether or not to relocate the Confederate monument that stands in front of the government complex.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors will hear comments September 3 at 6 p.m. at Smithfield High School.

New state law gives local governments the power to relocate monuments following citizen input and outreach to historical groups.

In July, several citizens came to advocate for the removal of the monument from the historic county complex. Some have labeled monuments to the “Confederate dead” as symbols of oppression, especially toward Black Americans.

The monument was placed in front of what was then the Isle of Wight County Courthouse in 1905 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Placed during the height of the “Lost Cause” movement, according to the state Department of Historic Resources, the statue of a soldier atop was likely custom made.

Since the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis Police, protesters have taken upon themselves the work of taking down symbols of the Confederacy.  In the interest of public safety, several other governments have ordered their monuments to be covered to protect them.

“I don’t think no citizen want[s] to destroy the monument,” said Supervisor Rudolph Jefferson. “But they feel like they should not be on public, county-owned property.”

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