Dec 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Virginia removes Robert E. Lee statue from U.S. Capitol

Robert E Lee Statue being removed.

Photo: Virginia Governor's office

Virginia has removed its statue of confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol, Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday.

Why it maters: The move takes out a "symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history," Northam said. Each state can display two statues in the Capitol, and the statue of Lee has been in the building for 111 years as part of the commonwealth's contribution.

What he's saying: “We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country,” Northam said.

  • “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion."

What's next: The statue will be replaced by a sculpture of civil rights icon Barbara Rose Johns, who battled against segregation as a teenager.

  • "I look forward to seeing a trailblazing young woman of color represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol," Northam said, "where visitors will learn about Barbara Johns’ contributions to America and be empowered to create positive change in their communities just like she did.”

Go deeper: Confederate monuments become flashpoints in protests against racism

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