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May 20, 2020

Byrd statue will get sign about Massive Resistance

Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury
A statue of Harry Byrd Sr. in Capitol Square will get interpretive signage noting his role as the architect of the state's policy of massive resistance to the integration of public schools.
Sen. Byrd (1887-1966), a Winchester newspaper publisher and orchardist, led “The Byrd Machine,” which controlled Virginia politics for four decades.
If we’re going to put signage with Lee and Jefferson and Washington, why not Byrd?
— Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin)
By Ned Oliver
Virginia Mercury

RICHMOND — Alongside an interminable back and forth concerning elephant rides at a roadside zoo, it was one of the stranger subplots of this year’s legislative session: A freshman Republican lawmaker proposed a bill to remove a statue of Harry Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square.

Del. Wendell S. Walker (R-Lynchburg) said he only did it because he wanted Democrats to think twice about their own bills addressing Confederate statues, apparently reasoning that the opposing party would bristle at the prospect of felling a statue of a fellow Democrat, a former Virginia governor and U.S. senator who is now best known for his role leading Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” campaign against integration of public schools.

“It’s kind of like playing chess,” Del. Walker, told The Washington Post. “You’re just calling somebody’s bluff.”

But it turned out Democrats liked the idea, prompting Del. Walker to ask them to kill his own bill. Democratic leaders in the House initially denied the request but eventually agreed to let him withdraw the legislation.

The story, it turns out, did not end there.

Tucked away in the budget the General Assembly returned to Gov. Ralph Northam was a clause calling for new signage around the statue, which is currently silent on his status as an avowed segregationist.

The budget language, approved by Gov. Northam, sets aside $50,000 that “shall be available for the development of interpretive signs regarding the history of Massive Resistance to incorporate these signs beside the statue of Harry F. Byrd Sr.”

It’s not clear who exactly proposed the idea — a budget amendment addressing the issue was never submitted and no one on the House or Senate side was clear on who might have proposed it.

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, most of whom weren’t aware of the proposal when they voted on the massive budget bill, said they were fine with it.

“If we’re going to put signage with Lee and Jefferson and Washington, why not Byrd?” Del. Charles Poindexter (R-Franklin) said as the legislative session came to a close. He was among the more outspoken opponents of legislation allowing local governments to remove Confederate monuments. “The more people know about all of history, the more we understand the past.”

With a freeze on all new spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unclear when the new signs will be erected.

Colleen Dugan Messick, the director of the Capitol Square Preservation Council, charged with developing the new signage, suggested it would likely be incorporated into a larger ongoing project to install “unified interpretive signage throughout the Capitol and Capitol Square as well as web-based applications to support a visitor-friendly website geared toward teachers and visitors as well as possibly an app.”

Given the pandemic, she estimated the project wouldn’t wrap up until the first half of 2021.
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Gonearethedays · May 26, 2020 at 10:14 am
May I recommend two excellent history articles from someone who many distinguished scholars today consider to be America's Greatest Living Historian to further aid understanding and factual background of the essential truths of the War to Prevent Southern Independence:

"Those People" (Part I):

"Those People" (Part II):

No lies contained in these scholarly articles; only documented facts.

God bless and Deo Vindice (translated from the Latin, "God Having Already Vindicated."
Mark House · May 24, 2020 at 5:20 pm
Can not run away from history, but it sure can be interpreted however it suits the observer. Seriously, how many people even care about Harry Byrd Sr. except for his family. That statue along with others are just landing spots for birds.

I'd rather have a Culture War then another Cold War, if there is an option.

The women of the South rewrote the Southern/Civil War history to suit their views and the children of the South were taught lies. I declare that there should be some kind of truthfulness exchanged for all the years of lies. Better then having to pay for the statues to be taken down, that in my opinion is a waste of money.
Gonearethedays · May 24, 2020 at 6:55 am
I find it interesting- but sad- that a statue of the icon of 20th Century Virginia Democrat politics, Harry Byrd, Sr., is now deemed necessary to require an "interpretive plaque" as if modern Virginians and American tourists (much less the Illegal Alien population rapidly metastasizing across Virginia) are too dumb to perform their own independent research of Harry Byrd, Sr. when they view his statue- and thus must be told by someone else via "interpretive plaque" what to think about the legacy of Harry Byrd, Sr. (or Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, etc.) in our current time. I am in favor of leaving historic statues in place as the historic relics they are- each capable on their own original merit of providing education and "teachable moments" as stand-alone artistry and commemoration (and I'm not even a Lifelong Virginia Democrat).

Dr. Donald Livingston ( ) recently noted the Culture War rages on. And what a war! There seems to be a new outrage almost every day. Here is a link to "Make it Right," a New York organization dedicated to hunting down and removing all Confederate monuments from public space- their symbol is an image of the statue of Robert E. Lee taken down by a crane in New Orleans:

This effort at ethnic and cultural cleansing of the American South has received little resistance by Southern elites. Instead of using these events as a teaching moment (as President Eisenhower did in 1960 when he was asked to remove a portrait of Robert E. Lee from the Oval Office- his outstanding response can be read here: ), they usually are morally disarmed and reduced to silence or use the event to signal their virtue in opposing "white supremacy" and asking for "healing" but not truth, oblivious to the fact that the North was not willing to put forth a morally responsible plan of emancipation and was itself white supremacist to the core. The attacks on Confederate monuments springs from the ideology of political correctness and multiculturalism that appeared in the late 1960s. This ideology is not peculiar in America. It is global and is forcing not only Southerners, but the British, French, Germans, and other historic peoples of Europe (as well as Americans generally) to as the unsettling question, "Who are we?" In a healthy society, one knows one's identity, not by thinking about it philosophically, but by simply living in a community with others. We don't, however, live in normal times. So we must address with the question, "Who are we?" President Jimmy Carter would sometimes say in speeches (and not only to Southerners) that he was "proud to be an American, but prouder still to be a Southerner." What did he mean by that? Dr. Livingston founded the Abbeville Institute to explore that question and to explain and defend the permanent things in the Southern tradition and its long contested relation to an America that is now coming apart. A poll conducted by Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service found that 67 percent of Americans believe we are two-thirds of the way to a civil war. I pray that isn't true; however whether true or not, Dr. Livingston notes it is imperative the Abbeville Institute provide an on-line repository and public education in what is true and valuable in the Southern tradition (something no longer done in higher or secondary education) and especially to reach our younger Americans. They are the seed corn of the future.
Linda Ward · May 20, 2020 at 3:06 pm
Be careful what you ask for. You might get it.
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Thursday, June 4
Six-story monument to “The Lost Cause” will go into storage while its future deliberated
Thursday, June 4
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Wednesday, June 3
Mask and distancing requirements present even greater challenges in 130-year-old structure
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