On Monday, crews removed the last city-owned Confederate statue in Richmond, Virginia. The monument, located at a busy intersection in the city that once served as the capital of the Confederacy, honored Ambrose P. Hill, a Confederate lieutenant general.
Hill’s remains were buried under the monument, which had towered over the intersection of West Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road since 1892. Officials say they will eventually take the statue to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Lyndon German. They plan to transfer Hill’s remains to a cemetery.
“Over two years ago, Richmond was home to more confederate statues than any city in the United States,” wrote Levar Stoney, Richmond’s mayor, on Twitter. “Collectively, we have closed that chapter. We now continue the work of being a more inclusive and welcoming place where all belong.”
Over two years ago, Richmond was home to more confederate statues than any city in the United States. Collectively, we have closed that chapter.— Mayor Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) December 12, 2022
We now continue the work of being a more inclusive and welcoming place where ALL belong. pic.twitter.com/3DHUSUg2Ea
The project hasn’t been without controversy, however. Most recently, four of Hill’s indirect descendants filed a lawsuit over the monument’s ownership. Just last week, after months of back and forth, a judge gave the city the go-ahead to disassemble the monument, reports Dean Mirshahi for the local TV station WRIC. The descendants say they plan to appeal that decision in hopes of relocating the statue to Cedar Mountain Battlefield instead of the museum.
Richmond began taking down Confederate statues in the summer of 2020 amid the nationwide racial justice protests sparked by George Floyd’s murder. Per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the city has spent at least $1.8 million removing its monuments, which honored Confederate leaders like Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
Across the country, several dozen Confederate monuments were removed in the wake of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, according to the Washington Post’s Bonnie Berkowitz and Adrian Blanco. Many more have come down since 2020, though more than 700 were still standing as of February, per the Southern Poverty Law Center. Hundreds more roads, buildings, parks, holidays and bridges honoring the Confederacy remain. The U.S. Army also has nine bases named after Confederate officers, though plans to rename them are in the works.
“Left standing without appropriate context, these monuments promote a false and damaging narrative,” writes the nonprofit National Trust for Historic Preservation. “When removed, these monuments can provide an even deeper understanding of history in other venues, such as museums, that can offer fuller and more inclusive context around the people, events and ideologies that led to the monuments’ creation, and their relationship to present-day issues.”