According to the thehill.com, a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from the U.S. Capitol overnight. The statue stood in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol for more than 100 years.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat named the removal an important step. “We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country. The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion.”
Northam, a Democrat, announced on Monday the state will seek to have Robert E. Lee statue replaced with the civil rights icon Barbara Johns. “I look forward to seeing a trailblazing young woman of color represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol, where visitors will learn about Barbara Johns’ contributions to America and be empowered to create positive change in their communities just like she did.”
Last night, Virginia removed its statue of Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol.
This is an important step forward—it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion. pic.twitter.com/zyR99ukiIz
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) December 21, 2020
A representative from Northam’s office was present for the removal along with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D), who represents a large swath of Northern Virginia in Congress.
End the scourge of racism
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) welcomed Robert E. Lee statue removal. “The Congress will continue our work to rid the Capitol of homages to hate, as we fight to end the scourge of racism in our country,” she said in a statement. “There is no room for celebrating the bigotry of the Confederacy in the Capitol or any other place of honor in our country.”
Earlier this year, a state commission recommended the removal of the statue from the Capitol.
The commission, led by state Sen. Louise Lucas (D), voted unanimously to remove it. “Confederate images do not represent who we are in Virginia, that’s why we voted unanimously to remove this statue,” Lucas said in a statement. “I am thrilled that this day has finally arrived, and I thank Governor Northam and the Commission for their transformative work.”
The statue of Robert E. Lee will be transported to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond, Northam’s office said.