Jul 28, 2022 - News

The last Confederate statues standing in Richmond

The A.P. Hill., the last confederate statue in Richmond, stands in the middle of an intersection while cars whirl by
A.P. Hill statue this week. Photo: Ned Oliver/Axios

The most prominent Confederate statues in Richmond may have come down, but holdouts remain.

What's happening: More than two years after the city's reckoning with Confederate iconography began in earnest, legal wrangling continues over a memorial to A.P. Hill.

  • The statue of the Confederate general stands in the middle of a North Richmond intersection.
  • And a handful of smaller statues under state control still dot Capitol Square.

State of play: City leaders have been actively trying to remove the memorial to Hill for more than a year — a process that has been complicated by the fact that, unlike other memorials taken down, this one is also the general's burial place.

  • Officials want to reinter Hill's remains in a cemetery in his hometown of Culpeper and donate the statue to the city's Black History Museum, the Washington Post reports.
  • But a group claiming to be descended from Hill's family has filed a lawsuit challenging the plan, arguing in court filings that as a grave marker, the statue is "personal property" of the descendants.

What's next: A hearing has not yet been scheduled in the case.

  • Legal experts told NBC12 that the case will likely hinge on whether the plaintiffs truly have standing to challenge the plan as descendants.

Meanwhile, three Confederate memorials remain on Capitol Square.

  • The statues escaped scrutiny even as former Gov. Ralph Northam led an effort to remove the state-owned Robert E. Lee Monument and the General Assembly took on a smaller Capitol Square monument to segregationist Sen. Harry Flood Byrd.

What they're saying: Former Virginia Del. Jay Jones, who led the push to remove the Byrd statue, tells Axios that it was unclear who had authority to remove the three Confederate memorials because, unlike the Byrd statue, the General Assembly hadn't directed the original installations.

  • Northam's former chief of staff, Clark Mercer, told the Post the administration didn't have time to untangle the issue: "Lee was our primary focus because that was the largest and most imposing monument to the Lost Cause in the world."

Gov. Youngkin says that he will not try to restore any monuments removed while Democrats were in power and isn't taking a stance on any of the remaining memorials, per WRIC.

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