Years after Confederate general stained glass windows come down, racial justice themes to go up in National Cathedral

Washington-DC

Stained glass windows depicting Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. (Photo provided by Washington National Cathedral)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRIC) — Stained glass windows depicting Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson were removed from the Washington National Cathedral in 2017 after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Representatives from the Cathedral announced Thursday that new windows highlighting racial-justice will take their place.

The new stained glass windows will be designed by Kerry James Marshall, a distinguished artist who does paintings focusing on Black life in America. He previously has not done a commissioned stained glass piece. Marshall has previously taught painting at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has been one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world.

According to a release from the National Cathedral, the windows will “capture both darkness and light, both the pain of yesterday and the promise of tomorrow, as well as the quiet and exemplary dignity of the African American struggle for justice and equality and the indelible and progressive impact it has had on American society.”

Dr. Elizabeth Alexander and Kerry James Marshall. (Photo provided by Washington National Cathedral)

A poem will be written to complement the new installations. The poet, Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, will write something that will later be inscribed in stone tablets to cover the stones previously dedicated to Confederate soldiers. Alexander is DC native whose work focuses on telling “more truthful representations” of U.S. history. She previously delivered a poem at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.

The new windows and stone tablets will be permanently placed in the southern face of the main worship space.

The project is expected to be complete sometime in 2023.

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