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The city of Richmond, Virginia, removed its final public Confederate monument on Monday. The removal of Confederate General A.P. Hill’s statue was complicated after objections by his indirect descendants, but it eventually went forward.
The monument, originally placed at a busy intersection in Richmond, adjacent to a school, was a location of frequent car accidents. Richmond was the capital city of the Confederacy for most of the Civil War.
The statue of General A.P. Hill was the last public Confederate monument in Richmond. The statue was one of many monuments across the country that memorialize the Confederacy’s years-long fight to maintain the enslavement of Black people.
Supporters cheered as the Confederate monument came down, then placed on a flatbed truck for moving. The removal process took only a few minutes, but the occasion was momentous for Black citizens.
No more Confederate monuments in Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia, is now free from all public statues that promote hatred and white supremacy. According to Jalaya Liles-Dunn, director of Learning for Justice at the Southern Poverty Law Center, “Internalized oppression is triggered when images and monuments and names represent generations of community hurt and pain.”
Confederate General A.P. Hill’s indirect descendants initially filed a lawsuit seeking possession of the statue. Under the statue sat Hill’s interred remains.
A judge ruled that the city of Richmond should decide what to do with the removed Confederate statue. City officials chose to give it to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
The process of removing Richmond’s Confederate monuments began during the protests over George Floyd’s murder by the police in 2020. The city of Richmond started with a statue of General Stonewall Jackson, which sat on a major city street.
Annette Gordon-Reed is a historian of U.S. slavery, a legal scholar, and a member of the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery.
“The values of the Confederacy, open and unrepentant white supremacy and total disregard for the humanity of black people, to the extent they still exist, have produced tragedy and discord,” Gordon-Reed said. “There is no path to a peaceful and prosperous country without challenging and rejecting that as a basis for our society.”