Two weeks ago, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, pledged to remove the 130-year-old statue of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee that overlooks Monument Avenue in Richmond.
The City Council unanimously supported removing the statue from the former Confederate capital, citing Lee’s treacherous role in the South’s pro-slavery crusade. “It’s time to replace the racist symbols of oppression and inequality,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says. Northam echoes Stoney’s objections to the statue’s connotations, heightened by its prominence in the middle of the city—a predominantly black city, no less. “When it’s the biggest thing around, it sends a clear message: This is what we value the most,” Northam says.
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