HAMPTON, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam is calling for the removal of an arch honoring the former president of the Confederacy at Fort Monroe, where the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia 400 years ago.
Northam’s office sent a letter to a member of the Fort Monroe Authority Board of Trustees Thursday calling for the removal of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Arch.
In the letter, Northam says it’s critical to address the issue before a series of events in August concerning the 400th commemoration of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans.
The board voted in favor of removal, which is likely to be a lengthy process because Fort Monroe is designated a national historic landmark.
The old army base sits on a hatchet-shaped peninsula named Old Point Comfort. The first enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort in 1619, and slaves sought their freedom at Fort Monroe during the Civil War when it served as a Union outpost.