Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

  • The issue has been reignited after six days of protests in Virginia's capital over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd and broader issues of systemic racism.
  • Northam said he will direct the Department of General Services to remove the statue and place it into storage "as soon as possible," and that the state will "work with the community to determine its future."

What they're saying:

"In 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people. Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now. So we’re taking it down. I believe in a Virginia that studies its past in an honest way. I believe that when we learn more, we can do more. And I believe that when we learn more — when we take that honest look at our past — we must do more than just talk about the future."
— Gov. Northam

The big picture: Civil rights activists in the state have said the statue, as well as other Confederate iconography, pays deference to America's legacy of slavery and racism. Others have argued they represent Southern history and heritage.

  • Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said on Tuesday he would introduce an ordinance to remove four other famous statues honoring the Confederacy.
  • "[T]imes have changed, and removing these statues will allow the healing process to begin for so many Black Richmonders and Virginians," Stoney said. "Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy — it is filled with diversity and love for all — and we need to demonstrate that.”

Go deeper

Updated Jun 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump tweets "wanted" images as 4 charged over bid to topple Andrew Jackson statue

Protesters attempt to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square outside the White House on June 22. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Four men have been charged with destruction of federal property for allegedly trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue outside the White House this week, the Department of Justice said in a statement on Saturday night.

Driving the news: The announcement came hours after President Trump retweeted images of 15 people the U.S. Park Police said they and the FBI Washington Field Office's Violent Crimes Task Force were seeking to identify for "vandalizing" the statue and "other related crimes."

Updated 49 mins ago - Science

Hurricane Isaias makes landfall in North Carolina

People walk through floodwaters on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on Monday. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Hurricane Isaias made landfall as a Category 1 storm near Ocean Isle Beach in southern North Carolina at 11:10 p.m. ET Monday, packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

What's happening: Hurricane conditions were spreading onto the coast of eastern South Carolina and southeastern N.C., the NHC said in an 11 p.m. update. Ocean Isle Beach Mayor Debbie Smith told WECT News the eye of the storm triggered "a series of fires at homes" and "a lot of flooding." Fire authorities confirmed they were responding to "multiple structure fires in the area."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 18,224,253 — Total deaths: 692,679 — Total recoveries — 10,865,548Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 4,713,500 — Total deaths: 155,401 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.