Friday, July 1, 2022

Statue of Confederate soldier removed from downtown Norfolk

Crews have removed a 113-year-old statue of a Confederate solider that stood atop an 80-foot-tall Confederate monument in downtown Norfolk.

The city said in a statement Friday that the statue, nicknamed Johnny Reb, came down in less than two hours.

The 15-foot-figure was removed out of concern for public safety. A protester had suffered life-threatening injuries in the neighboring city of Portsmouth after demonstrators pulled down a confederate statue in that city on Wednesday.

Norfolk’s city council members passed a resolution expressing their desire to remove the statue after a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. But a state law protecting memorials to war veterans prohibited Norfolk from doing so.

That law was rewritten earlier this year by the new Democratic majority at the General Assembly and will give localities the ability to decide what to do with monuments. Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander acknowledged that the new version doesn’t go into effect until July 1 but said he thinks public safety trumps waiting.

He said the remaining pieces of the column would be taken down in coming weeks.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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