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HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk’s 113-year-old “Johnny Reb” Confederate statue was swiftly taken down atop of its pedestal downtown in Norfolk on Friday morning, the first step in the process to remove the entire monument.
It came less than 48 hours after protesters dismantled the Confederate monument in Norfolk’s sister city of Portsmouth.
Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander announced Thursday night that the statue would be coming down “within 24 hours” weather-permitting. “Johnny Reb” stood at the top of an 80-foot Confederate monument, which will be removed after a July 7 public hearing.
“Taking down statues is easy, but the hard work of overturning generations of hate, inequality, and injustice remains ahead of us,” Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander said. “Addressing massive social and economic impact of the legacy of racism will require all of us to work together.”
Alexander and City Manager Chip Filer said the immediate removal was in an effort to keep the public safe after Wednesday night’s protest in Portsmouth, which left a man seriously injured.
Norfolk spokeswoman Lori Crouch said the removal of the statue, which is nearly 16 feet tall and weighs 1,500 pounds, went much quicker than expected, about 2 hours instead of the estimated 4-6 hours. It’s a move that’s been years in the making after the city’s council unanimously voted to remove it in 2017. Legal issues had limited previous action.
The statue’s removal Friday comes a week ahead of Juneteenth, which celebrates the emancipation of the last enslaved Africans in the former Confederacy.
7:45 a.m. — The 1,500-pound statue is being strapped to a flat bed tow truck to be hauled away to nearby Elmwood Cemetery.
6:55 a.m. — The “Johnny Reb” statue was officially taken down from its pedestal around 6:54 a.m. Friday morning, ahead of schedule.
6:40 a.m. Norfolk is in the process of removing its Confederate statue after announcing the decision on Thursday afternoon. Watch live here.
Here are details of events Thursday night:
11 p.m. — The crowd around the Norfolk Confederate monument had mostly dispersed by 11 p.m. Thursday night.
The monument bore names, initials, phrases and some profanity.
9 p.m. — Several people have gathered around and are spray-painting the Confederate monument in Norfolk.
About 10 or so people calmly started spray-painting around 8:40 p.m. Police blocked off roads leading to the monument.
Some people are standing observing the people painting the stone.
View the list of other planned protests in Hampton Roads HERE.