Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday that he has removed the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol.
For 111 years, the statue stood alongside the statue of the country’s first president, George Washington, as Virginia’s contribution to the National Statuary Hall. Each state is allowed two statues in the set.
Virginia plans to replace the Lee statue with civil rights icon Barbara Jones.
“We should all be proud of this important step forward for the Commonwealth and our country,” Northam said in A. statement. “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racial and divisive history, and it is time for us to tell our story in images of perseverance, diversity and inclusion. I look forward to seeing a young woman of color representing Virginia in the United States Capitol, where visitors will learn about Barbara Jones’s contributions to America and empower them to make positive change in Their communities like I did. “
“Confederate pictures do not represent who we are in Virginia.” State Senator Louise Lucas, who chaired the Virginia Committee that recommended the removal of this statue, said, “This is why we have voted unanimously to remove this statue.” “I am delighted that this day has finally arrived, and I thank Governor Northam and the Commission. For their transformative work. “
In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Jones led a student strike for equal education at Robert Rossa Mouton High School in Farmville, Virginia. Her protest garnered support from the NAACP and her case was one of five to be merged in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Supreme Court ruling in that case declared apartheid unconstitutional in 1954.
“When I think of Barbara Jones, I remember her courage at such a young age. It is time for us to start singing the songs of some Virginia people who have done great things that no one noticed.” Delegate Jeon Ward, who sponsored the legislation that created the commission, said, “This is a proud moment for the Commonwealth, I feel humbled that I was a part of it. “
Senator Tim Kane and Representative Jennifer Wexton, both Democrats, and a representative of Northam’s Bureau were present when the statue was removed.
In July, The House of Representatives passed legislation to rid the US Capitol of Confederate statues and other symbolsBut the Senate hasn’t taken the bill yet.
On Monday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the decision, pledging to continue ridding the Capitol of “loyalty to hate.”
The removal of the Robert E. Lee statue and its upcoming replacement in homage to Barbara Jones, a pioneer of civil rights and Virginia pride, is good news. The halls of Congress are the heart of our democracy, and the statues inside the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, “Pelosi said in statement. “Congress will continue our work to rid the Capitol of loyalty to hate, as we fight to end the scourge of racism in our country. There is no place to celebrate Confederate intolerance in the Capitol or anywhere else of honor in our country.”