RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Officials from the state of Virginia and the city of Richmond have tentatively decided the future of their now mostly relocated Confederate monuments.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Levar Stoney announced a proposal on Thursday to transfer ownership of the statues and pedestals to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
Included in the transfer would be an enormous statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee that was removed earlier this year, along with the 40-foot-tall pedestal that held it.
Pedestal removal work at the site is still underway.
Under the plan, the Black History Museum would work with officials at The Valentine museum in Richmond and the local community to determine the memorials’ fates. The plan is subject to City Council approval, which Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he would seek next month.
The complete list includes monuments to: Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Joseph Bryan, Fitzhugh Lee, Confederate Soldier and Sailors, and ceremonial cannon. It does not include A.P. Hill, who is buried under his monument.
“Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,” Mayor Stoney said.
Stoney directed the removal of the city’s Confederate monuments last summer amid the protest movement that erupted after the police killing of George Floyd.
The statues have been in storage since then, at least part of that time at the city’s wastewater plant. Not all of the pedestals have been removed.
Around the same time the city’s statues were removed, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans to remove the Lee statue, which was located on state property, but litigation tied up his plans until earlier this year.
“Symbols matter, and for too long, Virginia’s most prominent symbols celebrated our country’s tragic division and the side that fought to keep alive the institution of slavery by any means possible,” said Governor Ralph S. Northam. “Now it will be up to our thoughtful museums, informed by the people of Virginia, to determine the future of these artifacts, including the base of the Lee Monument which has taken on special significance as protest art.”