USAToday reports the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has towered over this Virginia city for more than 100 years will be removed “as soon as possible,” Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
The news came after days of protest surrounding the Lee statue and other Confederate monuments on the city’s Monument Avenue, sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and protests against racial inequality around the country.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said Thursday he would propose to the city council that the four other Confederate memorials be removed, too.
“Ladies and gentleman, it’s time. It’s time. It’s time to put an end to the lost cause and fully embraced the righteous cause. It’s time to replace the racist symbols of oppression and inequality,” Stoney said at a news conference Thursday.
“Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy,” he added.
On a mostly cloudless, hot and muggy day, demonstrations continued around the statue as cars drove by honking.
James Kelley, 29, works at Virginia Museum of fine Arts and has been attending the protests for several days.
“I see a lot of people that talk about history, and how important that is. At the same time, you got to remember the history of the other side, and those that were afflicted by people like Robert E. Lee, and those who fought for the Confederacy,” said Kelley, who wore a bright yellow bicycle vest marked with the words Justice for George Floyd.”
Northam said that the statue of Lee, owned by the state, will be placed in storage until there is community discussion to determine its future.