Ralph Northam’s past may be, uh, racially problematic, but he’s certainly making up for it now.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday for the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.
The governor will direct the statue to be moved off its massive pedestal and put into storage while his administration seeks input on a new location, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak before the governor’s announcement.
The move comes amid turmoil across the nation and around the world over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of taking down the Lee statue, presumably with Jackson and others on Monument Avenue to follow. These statutes were raised shortly after the victory of Jim Crow and the counterrevolution against Reconstruction specifically to lord power over the African-Americans who live in the city. They were explicitly, overtly racist statues. This was not about remembering a past hero. They were about telling black people who was boss and who was going to remain that way. Nowhere was that more important than in Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, though in largely black cities such as New Orleans and Memphis, gigantic Lee/Jackson/Forrest/etc statues did the same work. Every time you saw that statue as a black person, you were reminded to watch your back. There is no good reason for these statues to stay up, just like there was no good reason to keep the Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia. This is a major victory in the war to remember the war and one that could make the racist freakout over Charlottesville look like child’s play.
Let’s take out the Columbus statues next.