Richmond's Confederate Statues to Be Moved to Black History Museum in January
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Authorities in the US state of Virginia will relocate eight confederate statues, including a controversial statue of General Robert E. Lee, to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia (BMHVA) in late January, the museum’s legal counsel Greg Werkheiser told Sputnik on Thursday.
“The museum will receive eight statues and a couple of cannons. Ownership will transfer them in late January,” Werkheiser said.
All of the artifacts will be secured and will remain city-owned property until their future is decided, he added. “Some may end up at the facility while others may end up elsewhere," he said.
Asked how the museum would explain to visitors why it decided to accept the confederate statues, the legal counsel said there would be a lengthy, thoughtful and inclusive public process to determine that question. That process may take between six months and a year, he added.
“I do not think it will be too difficult. A lot has happened in the US," Werkheiser said, adding that people are now aware that the statues were erected for various reasons.
Any public display would include descriptions that elaborate on the statues' controversial history, he said. "It is going to be a very open and public process," he said.
Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney on Thursday announced plans to transfer ownership of the statues and pedestals of Richmond’s Confederate monuments to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The complete list includes monuments of Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Joseph Bryan, Fitzhugh Lee, Confederate soldier and sailors, and a ceremonial cannon.
During the Civil War in the United States, Lee led the forces of the Confederacy - a group of southern states that sided with the preservation of the institution of slavery. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy for most of the Civil War.
28 December 2021, 00:19 GMT
Calls for the removal of monuments honoring Confederate figures became widespread following nationwide protests against systemic racism in the aftermath of the 2020 killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody.
But several past attempts to remove Confederate statues in Virginia have ignited controversy, and at times violence. Plans to remove a monument of General Lee in August 2017 drew both protesters and counter-protesters who engaged in violent street brawls. The rival demonstrations turned deadly when a self-professed Nazi sympathizer drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one person and leaving dozens of others injured.