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Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue is scheduled to be removed

It’s time to take down the giant statue that’s stood on Monument Avenue for over a century. That’s according to the Supreme Court of Virginia on Thursday (Sept. 2). Following two lawsuits filed by Virginia residents seeking to block the removal of the statue last year, which Governor Ralph Northam had promised to be removed, the court voted on the matter. 

This statue is said to be protected and maintained by a joint resolution of Virginia’s General Assembly dating from 1889, as well as five individuals who owned land next to the statue and claimed it to belong to Northam. William Gregory, a descendant, argues that the statue acted as “confidently protected” and as “affectionately protected” when it was first recognized in Virginia. 

However, the court said the covenants outlined in the deeds of 1887 and 1890 didn’t apply anymore. 

Those restricted pacts, the judges said, are ineffective and unjustified because they require the federal government to communicate a message it has no desire to communicate permanently by requiring it to express itself. 

Mark Herring, Virginia’s attorney general, said the state should not be forced to preserve a monument that no longer reflects its beliefs. 

“Today marks an important day in Virginia’s history. In a statement, he said: “We have turned the page on a new chapter in our Commonwealth’s history, one of hope and growth, openness and healing.”. 

The statue was designated for removal by Northam 10 days after Floyd’s murder in June. Richmond, which was the Confederate capital during most of the Civil War, became the center of racial inequality protests after the statue was dedicated. 

There was no announcement of a timeline for the removal of the monument on Thursday, but it is expected to be done very soon. 

This article was penned by Jonathan P. Wright. Jonathan is a freelance writer for multiple mainstream publications and CVO of RADIOPUSHERS. You can read more of his work by clicking here.  

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