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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (center) watches as the contents of a time capsule from the pedestal that once held the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee are removed. Photo: Virginia first lady Pamela Northam/Twitter

Virginia historians on Wednesday opened a 19th century time capsule found last week in the pedestal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which was removed from Richmond's Monument Avenue this year.

What they're saying: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam denounced the monument's Confederate myth that seeks to minimize slavery's role in the American Civil War, but said the capsule's opening was "an important day for the history" of Virginia as it "gives us an idea what folks were thinking about at this time of our history," per the Washington Post.

  • The Democratic governor said in a statement after the Lee statue was removed in September, "This monument and its time capsule reflected Virginia in 1890 — and it's time to remove both, so that our public spaces better reflect who we are as a people in 2021."

The big picture: The Lee statue was one of dozens of Confederate monuments removed in response to last year's Black Lives Matter protests, which brought to the fore civil rights advocates' point that such symbols pay deference to the U.S. history of slavery and racism.

  • Northam lifted the lid of the capsule, which wasn't discovered until last Friday. Inside were items including an 1875 almanac, a British coin, some books and a cloth envelope.
  • Historians believe the capsule dates from 1887, according to the governor's office.

The intrigue: Julie Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, noted to the New York Times that the "odd assortment" differed from an 1887 newspaper description that indicated a capsule placed beneath the monument contained "a rare photo of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin."

Go deeper: New capsule installed at base that held up Robert E. Lee statue

Go deeper

Virginia historians open second time capsule found under Lee statue

A second time capsule that was stored at the former site of a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond is uncovered on Monday. Photo: Office of the Governor of Virginia/Twitter

Virginia officials on Tuesday opened a second time capsule found at the former site of a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond and found Confederate money, a bible, copper coins and more.

Driving the news: On Monday, officials found a second time capsule, and last week, Virginia historians opened a capsule they believed to date to 1887, though it did not hold highly anticipated contents related to the Confederacy.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker