The statue of Robert E. Lee and other confederate statutes in Richmond, Virginia, which was removed last year, will now be handed over to the local Black History Museum.
The announcement was made last week by Ralph Northam (Governor, Virginia) and Levar Stoney (Mayor, Richmond). The decision is now pending approval from the city council. Once approved, the 21-foot tall statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, along with its 40-foot pedestal, will be moved to the Black History Musuem. Eight other Confederate statues will also be moved to the museum and the Cultural Centre of Virginia.
The statue of Robert E. Lee first came under scrutiny in the summer of 2020, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Mayor Stoney announced the removal of Confederate statues from the city’s public areas at the time. Governor Northam also announced the removal of the statue in June 2020, but the process was halted by the circuit court after a lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit cited an 1890 document where the state of Virginia promised the safeguarding of the statue. However, last September, the state supreme court granted the governor the authority to remove the statue. In late December, the statue was removed from its pedestal. Underneath it, an 1887 time capsule was discovered that had artifacts from the 17th-19th century.
Talking to Associated Press, Stoney said “Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do.” Northam, while talking to NPR, said: “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.”