Dec 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Richmond removes its last Confederate monument

A crane lifts a statue of Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill. Photo: John C. Clark/AP

Workers in Richmond, Virginia removed the last city-owned Confederate statue from its pedestal on Monday morning.

Why it matters: The moment marks the close of a two-year effort to remove memorials to the Confederacy in its former capital. City and state leaders had long resisted calls to take down Confederate iconography.

What’s happening: A crane lifted a statue of Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill from the center of a busy intersection just before 10am.

Context: While most city-owned Confederate memorials came down in the summer of 2020 amid widespread protests against police misconduct, Hill’s removal was delayed because his body is buried beneath the statue.

What they’re saying: “This is, I would say, the last day of the Lost Cause,” Mayor Levar Stoney said as workers loaded the statue onto a flatbed trailer.

  • “I cannot say I’m emotional about this because I’ve seen so many of the other ones come down already,” he said. “I’m elated that we started a project and … now Richmond can turn the next page — fully turn the next page.”

What’s next: Workers are still dismantling the pedestal, where Hill’s body is believed to be interred.

  • A funeral home was on hand to transfer his body for reburial at a cemetery in Culpeper — the third time his remains will have been reinterred.

What we’re watching: A legal challenge filed by some of Hill’s relatives is still working its way through the courts.

  • A judge rejected initial efforts to stop the removal altogether. The family members are now pushing to relocate the statue of Hill to the same cemetery as his remains.

The other side: The family members say they oppose the city’s plan to donate the statue to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, which took ownership of all the prior monuments removed.

  • “It’s his headstone,” said John Hill, a Hill relative and steelworker from Ohio who traveled to Richmond to witness the removal. “It would be like anybody else’s headstone with their family name on it. You don’t want to see that come down.”

Editor's note: This story has been clarified to note that John Hill is a relative of A.P. Hill, not an ancestor.

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