WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Virginia’s statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee has officially been removed from the United States Capitol.
In a press release Monday morning, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s administration announced that the statue came down overnight.
“We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country,” Gov. Northam said. “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion.
In November, people across the state had the chance to speak publicly about who they want to replace the Robert E. Lee statue in the U.S Capitol.
Last week, the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol voted for a statue of civil rights icon Barbara Rose Johns to replace Confederate general Robert E. Lee in the National Statuary Hall Collection.
Who is Barbara Rose Johns?
The governor’s announcement last week said in 1951, then 16-year-old Johns led a student walkout at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, to protest the overcrowded and inferior conditions of their all-Black school compared to those of White students at nearby Farmville High School.
Johns was supported by NAACP lawyers who took up her cause and filed a lawsuit which would later be one of the five cases the United States Supreme Court reviewed in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
The governor’s statement said historians consider Johns’ protest a pivotal moment that launched the desegregation movement in America.