Sep 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Emancipation statue unveiled in Virginia after removal of Lee monument

Picture of the statue

Screengrab courtesy of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam livestream

A new statue commemorating the abolition of slavery was unveiled in Richmond, Virginia, on Wednesday, two weeks after a monument of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed.

State of play: The Emancipation and Freedom Statue consists of two bronze statues depicting a man and a woman holding a baby after being freed from slavery. It also includes the names of 10 Virginians who fought for emancipation, including Dred Scott.

  • The statue was meant to be revealed in 2019, but it was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

What they're saying: "I pray the public will see to the heart of the piece, to feel the intent to present a work with which every African American can identify, and find a place that every person can visit and piece for reflection and to teach their children," said Virginia state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D), who is head of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission, which commissioned the statue.

  • "We talk often about the need to make sure that we tell and teach the full and true story of our shared history, how we must ensure that everyone understands where we have been so we can build a more inclusive future together," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said.
  • "By necessity that often includes focusing on the horrors of slavery and the terrors of the Jim Crow era. But in this monument, we see a different part of the story. These figures embody the power, the power of emancipation and the power of free," Northam added.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the statue was unveiled on Wednesday, not Tuesday.

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