April 9, 2019
ACLU renews call for Lee’s Richmond statue removal
Photo/Library of Congress
The Robert E. Lee statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue soon after its 1890 installation.
By Alexandra Zernik
Capital News Service
RICHMOND — Tuesday marked the 154th anniversary of the Confederate Army surrendering to the Union on April 9, 1865. The American Civil Liberties Union used the event, which ended the Civil War, as another call for action: to remove the Monument Avenue statue honoring Robert E. Lee.
Gen. Lee was the commander of the Confederate Army and the man who signed the surrender at the Appomattox Court House more than a century and a half ago. He is memorialized at the center of the roundabout at Monument and North Allen avenues in Richmond.
There have been numerous attempts to remove the statue or move it to a museum or other location that critics deem more appropriate.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has said he wants to take down the statues of Lee and other Confederate figures on Monument Avenue. But under state law, local governments do not have authority over such monuments.
Protests, demonstrations and rallies have taken place at the Lee statue. The monument also has been vandalized multiple times.
In an “emergency” response to such events, the Virginia Department of General Services has attempted to regulate demonstrations at the monuments. The Virginia branch of the ACLU is challenging those regulations as unconstitutional.
On Tuesday, the ACLU issued a statement calling on the public to urge Gov. Ralph Northam to take action and move the monument.
“The answer to the problem of how to balance public safety and the right to free expression at this public forum is not to enact burdensome, illegal regulations,” the group said.
ACLU officials said the Lee statue, erected in 1890, is a Jim Crow-era symbol of racism and oppression.
Gov. Northam could use his executive authority to remove the statue from Monument Avenue, the ACLU said.
“The Lee Monument is a state-property island in the middle of Richmond, and if Gov. Northam is committed to racial equity, he should immediately remove this towering racist symbol,” the organization said.
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Mark House · April 12, 2019 at 9:37 am
The ACLU would be better served to take action toward throwing the current Clown-in-Chief out of the WH. He is alive and doing so much damage to this country that statues are of zero concern at this time.
Jeffersonian American · April 12, 2019 at 5:26 am
deanyj123 · April 11, 2019 at 10:27 am
Leave the statue alone. Removing it won't erase history. It's a freaking horse and rider. Northam is spineless if he tries to take it down.
BestKeptSecrets · April 10, 2019 at 4:07 pm
The ACLU, NEA, and AFT are all one sided political unions which use unions dues to place socialistic leaders in office.
AngryBob · April 10, 2019 at 1:25 pm
Y'all lost the war.
Get over it.
Mark House · April 10, 2019 at 7:09 am
Virginia was a Confederate State during the Civil War, so having Confederate statues fits. It's a statue, an inanimate object. It's the racism that still exists that we need to concentrate on, and remove from our society.
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