Richmond removes its last public Confederate monument

Southeast

RICHMOND, Va. (NewsNation) — The city of Richmond — the capital of the Confederacy for most of the Civil War — has removed its last public Confederate statue.

Richmond removed its other Confederate monuments amid the racial justice protests that followed George Floyd’s killing in 2020. But efforts to remove the statue of Confederate General A.P. Hill, which sits in the middle of a busy intersection near a school where traffic accidents are frequent, were more complicated because the general’s remains were interred beneath it.

It took just minutes to free the statue from the base Monday morning, before a crane using yellow straps looped under the statue’s arms lifted it onto a bed of tires on a flatbed truck.

The statue will be given to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

In September, attorneys for Hill’s indirect descendants agreed his remains would be moved to a cemetery in Culpeper, near where Hill was born. But the plaintiffs argued that the ownership of the statue should be transferred to them. They hoped to move it to a battlefield, also in Culpeper, according to news outlets.

In October, news outlets reported that Circuit Court Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. ruled that city officials — not the descendants — get to decide where the statue goes next.

“I went to court in Richmond on September 29th. I testified and proved my lineage to Hill. Judge Cheek denied us getting possession of it so we had to file an appeal and we’re in battle with the city for that,” said John Hill, a descendant of A.P. Hill.

The city of Richmond has spent $1.8 million removing Confederate statues from city-owned properties.

The city of Jacksonville, Florida spent $1.3 million taking down a Women of the Confederacy monument and in New Orleans, the city paid $2 million to take down four Confederate statues.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says more than 400 Confederate monuments have been removed, relocated, or renamed around the country.

Many of them came down in 2020 after the death of George Floyd and racial justice protests that followed with people demanding they be removed.

But not every effort to remove or replace controversial statues or monuments has been successful.

In Philadelphia, a judge ordered that a wooden box that had been placed over a statue of Christopher Columbus had to be removed. The judge said if the city disagrees with what the statue stands for, it can place a plaque near the statue explaining why.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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