After the 2017 White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the state began removing Confederate statues– first with Charlottesville’s own Robert E. Lee monument. Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said in a speech that taking the statue down is a step toward helping the city and country “grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain,” as noted by the Associated Press.
Others were removed last summer during the protests of George Floyd–including Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s monument. Virginia protesters also lent a helping hand, taking down a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. There was a proposal by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center to melt Lee’s statue and turn it into artwork. Currently, they are without a home and collecting dust at Richmond’s wastewater plant, but it looks like they will have a new home soon.
According to The Hill, Virginia and Richmond officials on Thursday announced a pending agreement. This would transfer ownership of the city’s now mostly removed Confederate monuments to Virginia’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center, including the infamous Robert E. Lee statue.
Under the plan announced by Gov. Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the Black History Museum would work with The Valentine museum of Richmond and the local community to determine the memorials’ fates.
The deal requires the City Council’s approval, which Stoney said he would seek next month. The arrangement would enable the community to take a deliberate approach in its reckoning with such divisive symbols, Stoney said in a statement.
“Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,” Stoney said.
Mayor Stoney ordered several confederate statues be removed during the summer of 2020. He also had some words to stay concerning what they stood for and what removing them would mean in a video address:
“These statues, although symbolic, have cast a shadows on the dreams of our children of color,” Stoney said. “Let me be clear, removing these monuments is not a solution to the deeply embedded racial injustices in our city and nation, but is a down payment.”