Richmond's Confederate monument to A.P. Hill set to come down
A Richmond Circuit Court judge cleared the way Tuesday for the last Confederate monument owned by the city to be taken down.
Judge D. Eugene Cheek ruled that the city of Richmond will decide where the statue of A.P. Hill goes after it is removed.
Attorneys representing the city said that the monument contributes to a dangerous traffic environment and that the city has a policy of not having Confederate monuments.
Virginia had more Confederate monuments than any other state, and Richmond began taking city-owned monuments down in July 2020. But this case was complicated because the statue holds Hill’s remains.
In May, the city asked the circuit court for permission to disinter Hill’s remains, which have been at the site since they were moved there in 1891 from Hollywood Cemetery. The site was Hill’s third resting place.
Then, indirect descendants of the former Confederate general asked the court for his monument. Their lawyers argued that the site was a cemetery and that regulations for cemeteries were more relevant than those governing war memorials.
Cheek, however, ruled the site was not a cemetery because it wasn’t exclusively made to house remains and only one person’s remains were at the site.
He also wrote that the descendants had not established ownership of the monument, which was created after Hill’s death and therefore could not be his property. The descendants also did not provide any evidence that they had paid for or maintained the monument site.
“We look forward to a successful conclusion of the legal process, which will allow us to relocate Hill’s remains, remove and transfer the statue to the Black History Museum and, importantly, improve traffic safety at the intersection of Hermitage [Road] and Laburnum [Avenue],” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement Tuesday.
Hill’s descendants have 30 days to appeal the ruling. The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia has all the monuments previously owned by the city.
Hill’s remains, according to the city’s plan outlined in court documents, will be moved to Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper County, where Hill is from.
Stoney said the statue of Hill is “the last stand for the Lost Cause in our city.”
Statues of several former Confederate leaders, including Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, are kept by the state at Capitol Square.