VA Guv. Northam To Order Removal Of Robert E. Lee Monument In Richmond

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is photographed at the center of Lee Circle along Monument Avenue on August 25, 2017 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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June 4, 2020 8:59 a.m.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is expected to announce on Thursday an order to have the statue of Confederate Army leader Robert E. Lee removed from Monument Avenue in Richmond.

Unnamed officials in Northam’s administration told the New York Times and Associated Press about the upcoming announcement.

The development comes amid nationwide protests against racist police brutality in wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer named Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly ten minutes.

Symbols of the pro-slavery Confederacy, particularly its flag and statues of Confederate soldiers littered across the country, have become flashpoints in the movement against racism in recent years, a culture war against the far-right that came to a head during the deadly Charlottesville neo-Nazi rally in 2017.

Several conservatives, including President Donald Trump, complain that removing the statues is an “erasure” of history.

However, historians have pointed out that the statues, which were not erected until after the Civil War, are symbols of state-sanctioned white supremacy that were built to intimidate black people after the fall of the Confederacy by glorifying those who fought to keep them in chains.

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