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Northam, Stoney Back Removal of Richmond’s Confederate Monuments

Robert E. Lee Monument
The Robert E. Lee Monument was vandalized after multiple nights of protests. (Crixell Matthews / VPM)

At least five Confederate monuments in Richmond could be removed in the coming months. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Governor Ralph Northam say they will back their removal.

Mayor Stoney announced Wednesday that he will submit local legislation, along with City Councilman Mike Jones, to remove all of the Confederate statues along Monument Avenue. The announcement came after six days of protests and riots responding to the killings of George Floyd and other Black Americans by police. 

J.E.B. Stuart Monument
Officers surround the J.E.B. Stuart Monument Monday evening. People have been demonstrating by the statue throughout the week. (Crixell Matthews / VPM)

Stoney says he will introduce the ordinance on July first. That’s when a new state law goes into effect giving localities control over Confederate monuments

Richmond City Council will ultimately need to approve the removal. City Councilman Michael Jones has submitted ordinances to remove the Confederate monuments twice before, both attempts were voted down.

A senior administration official also told VPM that Gov. Northam will order the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument tomorrow during an 11 a.m. press conference. 

That statue is the only one on Monument Ave. owned and maintained by the state. It’s been heavily graffitied in recent days with “Black Lives Matter” and anti-police brutality messages.

The “Unite the Right” white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 accelerated the movement across the country to remove Confederate monuments and symbolism.

Sara McCloskey contributed to this reporting.