Across Virginia, Local Officials Weigh Taking Down Reminders Of Confederate LegacyBreaking News
tags: memorials, Confederacy, Virginia, monuments, public history
From Winchester in the northwest to Williamsburg in the southeast, communities across Virginia are finally grappling with whether to renounce their veneration of the Confederacy, more than 150 years after the Civil War ended.
Many of the statues and monuments that still dot courthouse lawns and traffic circles, commemorating Southern troops and leaders, were erected in the Jim Crow era of the early 20th century or as the civil rights movement gained strength in the 1960s.
This summer, some of them are starting to fall.
“This is a unique moment and a politically perishable one,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. “That is why [activists and political leaders] are acting now. It’s not going to last — for them it’s an opportunity without going through a legalistic process at a time when they know they can.”
Virginia has more Confederate statues than any other state, according to Julie V. Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. The department’s comprehensive census reports 386 monuments and markers, among other sites.
That list, which Langan said could have missed a few, doesn’t include Confederate-named schools, highways, parks, bridges, counties, cities, lakes, dams, roads and military bases.
The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project is tracking which monuments have come down and which ones are under review. About 14 of the 109 Confederate statues that VPAP counted have been removed or are the topic of public discussion about whether to remove them.
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