Shenandoah group considering taking VB Confederate monument — as well as those from other cities

Virginia Beach

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation in Virginia says it has received several offers from cities — including Virginia Beach — to take possession of their respective Confederate monuments.

The group is considering the offers but did not confirm if they would be interested in applying to take any, Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation CEO Keven Walker said Thursday.

There are already several monuments that call the valley home.

Walker said the foundation received an email from Virginia Beach that was part of a request for proposals required by law. The city voted unanimously July 23 to relocate its monument at the historic Princess Anne Courthouse.

The email from Virginia Beach included an attached document where the foundation could describe what they would do with the monument. Walker forwarded that proposal to the lands committee, and it is under consideration.

City spokeswoman Julie Hill said the city sent the proposal to the foundation as well as a “variety” of other organizations.

“The choice to respond, of course, is theirs,” Hill wrote in an email.

The closing date for proposals to take the Confederate monument is Sept. 1. All proposals to take the monument that meet certain requirements will be evaluated at that time, Hill said.

The recent influx of requests for the battlefield foundation comes as many localities are removing or considering removing their Confederate monuments. The push comes following a new state law allowing localities to move monuments, as well as the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. In recent months, protesters have vandalized and attempted to deconstruct some area monuments that honor the Confederacy. 

Leaders in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Williamsburg and Pasquotank County, North Carolina, are some localities in the region that have already voted to relocate their monuments as of Thursday.

Newport News and Isle of Wight County have scheduled public hearings on the relocation of their monuments on Aug. 11 and Sept. 3 respectively.

Under Virginia law, localities need to hold a public hearing ahead of the vote to remove, relocate, alter or change their monuments. After that, there’s another 30-day period in which they must solicit proposals for museums, historical societies, governments or military battlefields to take ownership of the monuments.

Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Williamsburg are currently in that 30-day period to seek proposals.

It’s also not only cities in Tidewater that have reached out to the battlefield foundation. Richmond, Charlottesville and Baltimore also reached out to the foundation about taking their monuments, Walker said.

During Norfolk’s meeting July 7, some speakers suggested the city reach out to the battlefield foundation. City Manager Chip Filer said he could contact the group in case they did want to take it.

There was some interest by the foundation members in taking the 113-year-old “Johnny Reb” Confederate monument in Norfolk, Walker said, but they decided they liked Norfolk’s existing plan to put it in Elmwood Cemetery.

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