Virginia Gov Gives Robert E. Lee the Boot; Orders Statue Removed

Following through on earlier comments, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that sits in the state’s capital city of Richmond. Northam called for the statue to be removed as soon as possible.

Northram said:

“Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then and it is wrong now, so we’re taking it down.”

The removal comes amid protests and riots over George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis, MN.

In Richmond, protestors, many wearing face masks to guard against COVID-19 spread, gathered around the defaced statue on Monument Avenue, holding high a raised fist and taking a knee in symbolic denunciation of racism. The pedestal, which has been repeatedly vandalized in recent years, this week was disfigured with spraypaint reading “Stop White Supremacy” and “ALM,” which means “All Lives Matter.”

To be clear, populations large and small get to pick their heroes.  The city of Richmond and state of Virginia at some point picked Robert E. Lee, and now they are choosing to remove him, in keeping with the times.

Among many, there is one interesting person, albeit long dead, who surely would be glad to see it go…  Robert E. Lee himself. The General, who was asked to lead the Union forces before he resigned to lead the Confederate forces, passed in 1870.

In writing about a proposed Confederate monument in 1866, Lee said:

“As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt in the present condition of the Country, would have the effect of retarding, instead of accelerating its accomplishment; [and] of continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.”

Lee Biographer Jonathan Horn said:

“Lee believed countries that erased visible signs of civil war recovered from conflicts quicker.  He was worried that by keeping these symbols alive, it would keep the divisions alive.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Larry Freeman

    History whether good or bad is there to remind us of our accomplishments and failures. By erasing the failures we are doomed to repeat them. Removing history good or bad i because it offends somebody is wrong. If it is bad history it should remind you, not offend you. If it offends you then look the other way because you will probably repeat what is there to remind you.

  2. victor vegas

    Completely agree with this decision, why render tribute to soldiers who created the gap through segregation between north and south.

  3. jeffrey ketron

    I think Gov. Northam and anyone else in office, in any state ,that wants to remove our nations historical or biblical reminders should be removed first, no matter their political beliefs. Although these statues, plaques, etc., sometimes remind us of difficult and unpleasant times in our countries history, they also serve as reminders that we shouldn’t let these things happen again. They are also about the citizens that put their lives on the line for what many believed was worth fighting for. They should remind us all that we should be willing to do the same now. We should be willing to do the same for the fight against racism or any other threat to our great country!

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