Richmond City Council votes to keep Confederate monuments down permanently

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s Confederate monuments will have to find new homes after the City Council voted unanimously Monday to keep them down for good, initiating a 30-day period when the city will offer the monuments “to museums, historical societies, governments, or military battlefields.”

A majority of the monuments the city aimed to take down were already removed before an injunction barred any further action from taking place last month. The first monument that was removed by the city, the Stonewall Jackson statue, was taken down on July 1, the first day local governments had the authority to remove Confederate monuments.

Crews worked quickly to remove several other monuments before the 60-day injunction blocking Mayor Levar Stoney from removing any more was granted: the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue, J.E.B. Stuart statue, Confederate Soldiers and Sailors statue, the cannon sitting atop a pedestal just west of the Arthur Ashe memorial, the cannon near the statue memorializing the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis and the monuments to Fitzhugh Lee and Joseph Bryan in Monroe Park. The Jeff Davis Monument was toppled by protesters in June.

The only city-owned monument left is the General A.P. Hill monument, which is located at the intersection of W. Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road. The location of Hill’s remains, underneath his statue, has presented a unique challenge for the city.

On Monday, the council approved an ordinance that permanently removes the monuments from the city. Under the new state law that gives Richmond the jurisdiction over its monuments, the city will now offer the monuments “for relocation and placement” to organizations that may house them.

Despite the measure, the City Council is not required to accept any offer as the law states that “the local governing body shall have sole authority to determine the final disposition of the monument or memorial.”

The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, which is owned by the state, will remain on its pedestal for at least another 90 days after a judge granted a group of Monument Avenue residents an injunction preventing the state from having it removed.

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