US city removes last public Confederate statue | Slavery News
The US city of Richmond, Virginia, once the Confederate capital during the United States Civil War, has removed its last public statue commemorating a Confederate general.
The statue of Confederate General AP Hill was removed Monday with a crane lifting it from a memorial onto a truck. The city has removed other statues commemorating members of the Confederacy who fought a war to perpetuate black enslavement in the United States.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the statues removed in 2020 as protests for racial justice swept the country after the murder of George Floyd, a black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“More than two years ago Richmond had more Confederate statues than any city in the United States,” Stoney wrote Twitter on Monday. “Together we closed this chapter.”
The proliferation of statues honoring members of the Confederacy, many of whom were slave owners, remains a persistent and controversial issue in the US as discussions continue about the country’s legacy of racism.
Richmond began removing its remaining public Confederate statues in February and has announced that Hill’s statue will be given to the Black History Museum and Virginia Cultural Center.
Over two years ago, Richmond was home to more Confederate statues than any other city in the United States. Together we closed this chapter.
We now continue the work to be a more inclusive and welcoming place where EVERYONE belongs. pic.twitter.com/3DHUSUg2Ea
— Mayor Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) December 12, 2022
However, there are still hundreds of statues honoring Confederates across the United States, and efforts to remove them have often prompted violent and even violent backlash.
In August 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups rallied to oppose calls to remove a statue honoring Confederate general and slave owner Robert E. Lee.
The groups chanted racist and anti-Semitic slogans, and a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer after ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.
While Confederate statues have been erected across the country, most focus on Southern states fighting for the Confederates during the U.S. Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865 and killed more than 600,000 people.
The states were, in order of secession, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Critics see the statues as monuments to white supremacy and a regime that waged war to maintain slavery and violent black rule. Others believe calls for the statues to be removed represent the erasure of an important part of US history.
Most Confederate statues, however, were not erected immediately after the end of the Civil War in 1865, but rather in later periods that often coincided with violent responses to the expansion of black rights.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across the United States, the first period in which Confederate statues proliferated began around 1900, when states began enacting racist segregation edicts, known as the Jim Crow laws, giving black people the Basic right denied rights.
This first period ended in the 1920s when the white supremacist militia, the Ku Klux Klan, rose to prominence.
The second phase occurred in the 1950s and 1960s when blacks in the US successfully pushed for more rights during the civil rights movement.
During the 2020 U.S. racial justice protests, dozens of Confederate monuments were removed in several cities including Montgomery, Alabama; Alexandria, Virginia; and Louisville, Kentucky.
Richmond’s removal of the AP Hill statue was particularly controversial because it was in the middle of a busy intersection, under which the general’s remains were buried.
Hill’s indirect descendants had requested that the statue be placed in a cemetery near his birthplace, but a judge ruled in October that the city had the right to decide where to place the statue next.