RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A statue of confederate general A.P. Hill was removed on Monday, Dec. 12, after standing for over 130 years. 8News spoke with the man who oversaw the removal of the statue — and several others in Richmond over the last couple of years.
Team Henry Enterprises CEO Devon Henry says he decided to take on the removal project when others wouldn’t. Now, he’s taking time to reflect on how the removal of the last city-owned confederate statue will impact the community.
“I’m glad that we can move past these statues,” Henry said. “And to see this rubble and the condition that it’s in and to know that we had a major part in this … it’s just an amazing feeling.”
Henry’s contracting company has removed 24 statues in the U.S., including 15 pieces in Richmond. He said it began with a phone call from former governor Ralph Northam in 2020, following the killing of George Floyd.
“It became more of a question, if not us then who? If not now, then when? Because for decades, literally decades folks have been fighting to try and get these statues down,” Henry said.
Before Henry, several other contractors said “no” when offered the project. Henry says many were afraid of the dangers that would come with the project.
“You had Charlottesville what happened there,” he said. “You had a young lady that basically died over statues. You had the situation in New Orleans where a contractor’s car got blown up.”
Henry said his own family has received threats as a result.
“We had to have 24-hour security,” Henry said. “Kids are saying they are scared to leave the house.”
In spite of the danger, Henry chose to take on the project because he thought it was what an influential figure in his life — late congressman and civil rights leader — John Lewis called, “good trouble.”
“Every single removal that we’ve gone to I’ve had my ‘good trouble’ T-shirt on,” he said. “Living by that — there’s alot of good trouble you can get into to help people.”
“Today there was a lot of emotion,” Henry said. “There was a group that felt like hey you’re taking away my statues … And then there was another group saying those statues shouldn’t have never been up.”
What will happen to the statue now is still being determined in court. While the indirect descendants want both the statue and remains to be moved to the Cedar Mountain battlefield in Culpeper, the City of Richmond wants the statue to be donated to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.