A statue of a Confederate general in Richmond, Virginia, was torn down late Saturday by protesters, just days after Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) announced he would remove a different Confederate statue in the state capital.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that most protesters had left the area by the time the statue was toppled, but a few “using ropes pulled down a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham, which has stood in the park since 1891.” After the statue was brought down, one protester reportedly urinated on it before running away.
The statue was in Monroe Park, which is home to a second statue honoring Confederate officers. The other statue, “dedicated to Gen. Fitzhugh Lee for his service in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War,” the Times-Dispatch reported, is still standing.
The Wickham statue has been on protesters’ radar for years, the outlet reported. In 2017, Wickham’s great-great-great-grandchildren asked Mayor Levar Stoney and the Richmond city council to remove the statue.
As The Daily Wire reported, Northam on Thursday announced he had directed Virginia’s Department of Government Services to remove a prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that sits in the middle of Richmond.
“Today, we’re here to be honest about our past and talk about our future,” Northam tweeted Thursday, ignoring the fact that he has not been honest about whether he wore a KKK hood or dressed in blackface while in medical school. “I strongly believe that we have to confront where we’ve been in order to shape where we’re going.”
“Today, Virginia is home to more Confederate commemorations than any other state. That’s true because generations ago, Virginia made the decision not to celebrate unity, but to honor the cause of division,” Northam tweeted. “The statue of Robert E. Lee is the most prominent. Lee himself didn’t want a monument, but Virginia built one any way. Instead of choosing to heal the wounds of the American civil war, they chose to keep them on display.”
“But voting matters, elections matter, and laws can be changed,” Northam tweeted. “And this year, we changed them. This year, I proposed legislation to let cities and counties decide what to do with monuments in their communities—take them down, move them somewhere else, or add additional context.”
“But the Lee statue is unique, both in size and in legal status. The state owns it, unlike most other statues––that was part of the plan to keep it up forever. It sits on a 100-foot circle of land, a state-owned island, surrounded by the City of Richmond,” he continued. “And when it’s the biggest thing around, it sends a clear message: This is what we value the most. But that’s just not true anymore. In Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history.”
Northam was able to announce the removal of the Lee statue because it is on state land, but several other monuments in Richmond belong to the city, so there would be a different process for removing them.
Prior to protesters removing the Wickham statue, Mayor Stoney said he would seek to remove the four other monuments, WTOP reported.
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