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Richmond’s Jefferson Davis Statue Might Be Next On The Chopping Block

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

A commission recommended that Richmond, Va., remove its statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on Monday.

The Davis statue is one of five Confederate monuments lining Monument Avenue in the city, reported The Guardian.

The commission, appointed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, said that the Davis monument “is the most unabashedly Lost Cause in its design and sentiment.” The Lost Cause emphasizes the values and traditions of the South over slavery when conceptualizing the Civil War. The commission notes that the statue terms Davis the “Defender of the Rights of States.”

“In the course of [our] work, it became abundantly clear the majority of the public acknowledges Monument Avenue cannot and should not remain exactly as it is,” the commission, comprised partly of historians and local officials, said. “Change is needed and desired.”

Richmond erected its Gen. Robert E. Lee Monument Avenue statue in 1890. May and June 1907 saw the installation of statues dedicated to cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart and Davis, respectively. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s statue debuted in October 1919 and naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury’s monument was the last Confederate memorial to populate the street on November 1929. (RELATED: New Orleans Uproots Third Confederate Statue In Early Morning Operation)

The city added a statue of black tennis star Arthur Ashe to Monument Avenue in 1996.

“Richmond has a long, complex and conflicted history and the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue represent a shameful part of our past,” Stoney said, noting that he would review the recommendations but agreeing with the report’s conclusion that “something needs to change.”

“As I have said before, the statues on this beautiful street are Lost Cause myth and deception masquerading as history,” the mayor said. “They are monuments to Jim Crow [segregation laws] that do not reflect the qualities of inclusivity, tolerance and equality we celebrate as values in our city today.”

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