Gov. Northam Releases Statement Following Removal of Lee Statue

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The 21-foot bronze statue of Robert E. Lee that stood on Monument Avenue in Richmond has been removed (WYDaily/Nancy Sheppard)

RICHMOND — Following the Wednesday, Sept. 8 removal of Richmond’s statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue, Gov. Ralph Northam issued a statement.

“After 133 years, the statue of Robert E. Lee has finally come down — the last Confederate statue on Monument Avenue [Richmond], and the largest in the South,” said Gov. Northam. “The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people. It is time to display history as history, and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future.”

In 2020, Gov. Northam announced his intention to remove the statue following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was later convicted for Floyd’s death.

The grounds around the Lee Statue were unofficially renamed by Richmond community members the Marcus-David Peters Circle after a Virginia Commonwealth University alumni that was killed by police during a mental episode. The park and statue became a focal point for members of the community to gather in support of the Black Lives Matter and other racial equity movements.

On Thurs., Sept. 2, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the 21-foot bronze statue, which sits atop a base, could be removed.

The Lee statue is being placed in secure storage at a state facility until an appropriate and permanent location for it can be determined.

The City of Richmond is working with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to develop a plan to reimagine Monument Avenue. During this process, the community-driven effort will make a determination regarding the 40-foot granite pedestal that the statue stood on.

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