- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2020

A statue of Robert E. Lee and busts of several other members of the Confederacy were removed from the Virginia State Capitol overnight under the direction of Democratic leadership.

Eileen Filler-Corn, the speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, announced early Friday morning that she had the Confederate artifacts removed from the capitol’s Old House Chamber.

“Virginia has a story to tell that extends far beyond glorifying the Confederacy and its participants. The Confederacy’s primary objective in the Civil War was to preserve an ideology that maintained the enslavement of human beings,” she said in a statement. “Now is the time to provide context to our Capitol to truly tell the Commonwealth’s whole history.”

In addition to the Lee statue, Ms. Filler-Corn said busts depicting eight additional members of the former Confederacy were removed from the Old House Chamber under her direction, including ones of fellow Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s former president, among others.

Ms. Filler-Corn, who has authority over the Old House Chamber due to holding the role of speaker, said the items were removed under the supervision of a professional conservator.

She also said she asked Delegate Delores McQuinn, Richmond Democrat, to lead the newly formed Speaker’s Advisory Group on State Capitol Artifacts to decide what to do with them.

“The artifacts at the Capitol are a painful reminder of the deep-rooted wounds of slavery and 401 years of oppression. These Confederate artifacts are constant reminders of individuals who had no intentions of guaranteeing justice, equality and equity for all,” Ms. McQuinn said in a statement. “I am proud of Speaker Filler-Corn for taking this action to not only remove these hateful symbols, but also create a process to make sure our State Capitol reflect our ideals.”

Other members of the advisory group will include bipartisan members of the House, historians and community leaders, the speaker’s announcement said.

Richmond served as the capital of the former Confederate States of America for four years during the Civil War. More than 150 years later, a number of monuments erected across the city afterward honoring the likes of Lee, Jackson and Jefferson have recently come down amid the racially charged killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in late May, rekindling calls for their removal.

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