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Stoney forms Monument Avenue Commission to study Confederate statues

Mayor Stoney today announced the formation of the Monument Avenue Commission “to help the city redefine the false narrative of the Confederate statues that line Richmond’s grandest boulevard.” Libby Hill’s Confederate Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument isn’t mentioned here, but it seems worth noting:

Mayor Stoney Announces Formation of the Monument Avenue Commission

Mayor Levar M. Stoney today announced the formation of an ad hoc advisory group, the Monument Avenue Commission, to help the city redefine the false narrative of the Confederate statues that line Richmond’s grandest boulevard.

The commission will be tasked with soliciting public input and pooling its collective centuries of experience in history, art, government culture and community to make recommendations to the mayor’s office on how to best tell the real story of our monuments.

“It’s our time; it’s our responsibility to set the historical record straight on Monument Avenue’s confederate statuary,” Mayor Stoney said.

“Equal parts myth and deception, they were the ‘alternative facts’ of their time – a false narrative etched in stone and bronze more than 100 years ago – not only to lionize the architects and defenders of slavery – but to perpetuate the tyranny and terror of Jim Crow and reassert a new era of white supremacy.

“It is my belief that without telling the whole story, these monuments have become a default endorsement of that shameful period – one that does a disservice to the principles of racial equality, tolerance and unity we celebrate as values in One Richmond today.”

Mayor Stoney has also charged the commission with exploring the possibility of adding new monuments to Monument Avenue.

“I think we should consider what Monument Avenue would look like with a little more diversity,” the Mayor said.

“Right now, Arthur Ashe stands alone — and he is the only true champion on that street.”

To guide this process, the mayor has assembled a diverse and experienced team of experts – historians, artists, authors and community leaders.

The Mayor has appointed Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum, and Greg Kimball, Director of Education and Outreach for the Library of Virginia, to serve as Monument Avenue Commission co-chairs.

Click here for a list of other commission members and city staff assigned to assist the commission, which will also work with David Ruth, Superintendent of Central Virginia for the National Parks Service, who will advise regarding this National Landmark Historic District.

Two public meetings will be held over the next 90 days. Dates, times and locations will be announced next week. Residents will also be able to offer suggestions on the website, monumentavenuecommission.org.

When he ran for office, Mayor Stoney said the Confederate statues required context – that is, an explanation of what they actually are: who built them, why they were built and how they came to preside over the culture of this city. Today’s commission announcement is the first step in fulfilling that promise.

“The best way to change hearts is to educate minds,” he said.

The Mayor also suggested another strategy to balancing the historical ledger in Richmond.

“These are all important projects, and important symbols that help educate and build a bridge to understanding a more complete history,” the Mayor said.

“Let’s make our next monument a new school. A new community center. An alternative to public housing that restores dignity and pride of place,” he said.

“America’s history has been written and rewritten and our struggle with race in this country persists, not because monuments rise or fall, but because, fear makes people falter,” the Mayor continued.

“What lasts, however – the legacy that will endure – are the people we build, the minds we enlighten and nurture, and the hearts we open on both sides.

“If we can do that, then we will not just have a few new monuments. We will have thousands – living monuments to understanding, inclusiveness, equality and promise,” the Mayor added. “They are the ones who will know the difference between myth and fact, embrace just causes, not lost causes, and they will write the next chapter in the history of our city.

“Setting the record straight on Monument Avenue is one very important step on the road to One Richmond.”

Background:

Richmond is unique among cities in many respects in how it has handled its complex and conflicted Civil War and Civil Rights history.

It was the capital of the Confederacy and the home of the first African-American Governor in the United States – L. Douglas Wilder, in 1989.

A statue of segregationist state senator Harry Flood Byrd sits on Capitol square less than 100 years away from the Civil Rights memorial honoring Prince Edward County student Barbara Moton, whose brave protests for equal treatment in education helped bring about school desegregation in the commonwealth.

We have expanded the conversation and understanding of history and erected the statue, “Reconciliation,” acknowledging this city’s role in the Triangle Slave Trade in Shockoe Bottom.

A statue of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tadd stands next to the American Civil War Museum, the only museum dedicated to telling the story of the Civil War from multiple perspectives: Union and Confederate, enslaved and free African Americans, soldiers and civilians.

Next month the city will dedicate a new statue of Richmond’s own Maggie Walker on Broad Street, and next year, an emancipation statue will be commemorated on Brown’s Island.

It is also moving forward developing a plan to commemorate the Devil’s Half Acre and Negro Burial Ground along Shockoe Creek.

History:

The statues on Monument Avenue were erected between 1890 and 1919, as the rights of African-Americans were being systematically removed.

In 1867, 105,832 African American men were registered to vote in Virginia, and between 1867 and 1895, nearly 100 black Virginians served in the two houses of the General Assembly or in the Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868.

But in 1876, two constitutional amendments were ratified in Virginia that instituted a poll tax, disfranchising men convicted of petty offences, and the number of registered voters plunged.

By the turn of the century, as Jim Crow took hold, there were no more black legislators in Virginia until 1968.

Click here for the full remarks as prepared for the Mayor.

162 comments

Michael Grabow 06/22/2017 at 2:58 PM

What makes this garbage? Please be specific.

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Frank Pichel 06/22/2017 at 1:59 PM

nice

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Paul Boulden Jr. 06/22/2017 at 2:12 PM

Lets hope that it is fair and balanced.

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Jeremy Bradham 06/22/2017 at 2:12 PM

Yea I saw this garbage. Liberals are gaining ground.

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Byron Faidley 06/22/2017 at 2:17 PM

"Mayor Stoney today announced the formation of the Monument Avenue Commission to help the city redefine the false narrative of the Confederate statues that line Richmonds grandest boulevard." It doesn’t sound like "Fair and balanced" is any part of it.

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Kemper Houston Galyean 06/22/2017 at 2:28 PM

So they have extra money to do something so stupid.

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Angela Wagner Costa 06/22/2017 at 2:44 PM

Let’s erase history! Crazy

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Brandon Czeizinger 06/22/2017 at 2:51 PM

Wow what worthless human being that wrote thatI have half a mind to sue him for 5 minutes of my life back

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Brandon Czeizinger 06/22/2017 at 2:51 PM

And quite false a lot of it

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Debbie Monaghan 06/22/2017 at 2:52 PM

mmmmmmkay

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Michael Grabow 06/22/2017 at 2:57 PM

You might as well have just said "I like to comment on articles I didn’t read! Crazy"

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Scott Williams 06/22/2017 at 3:00 PM

I would rather my tax dollars be spent on fixing real issues. This is typical of what city leadership is like under photo op Stoney. Let the self flagellation begin. Tourist will flock to Richmond to feel the shame.

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Diego Hernandez 06/22/2017 at 3:04 PM

Why waste money on a commission when he has clearly made up his mind on trying to push his own agenda? I’m wondering what is the false narrative that he is talking about.

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Brian Noel 06/22/2017 at 3:11 PM

I am curious as to what you find as false in this piece?

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Brian Noel 06/22/2017 at 3:11 PM

Just because it’s not important to you doesn’t mean it’s a waste of money.

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Marc Ramsey 06/22/2017 at 3:19 PM

It feels like 1860 all over again. "A house divided…"

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Marc Ramsey 06/22/2017 at 3:20 PM

It is a terrible waste of money!

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Brian Noel 06/22/2017 at 3:21 PM

That’s a matter of opinion, Marc…and I happen to disagree with your opinion.

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Fredrik Lundström 06/22/2017 at 3:22 PM

Michael, no one is burning books or tearing down monuments in this case.

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Frank Cale 06/22/2017 at 3:27 PM

Trying to erase the history of our country does not mean that it did not exist.

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Tom Richardson 06/22/2017 at 3:33 PM

Just MHO: take down Jefferson Davis; the Kentuckian who tried to lead the successionist states to become a country condoning slavery. The Virginians (soldiers) were, in their minds & hearts, defending their state. Should we take down the Vietnam veterans memorial because it was similarly a lost cause? I think not. It is a memorial to those who served a cause they didn’t even understand. Shame the politicians; not the soldiers.

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Michael Grabow 06/22/2017 at 3:46 PM

You didn’t read the article.

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Jeremy Bradham 06/22/2017 at 3:50 PM

Removing monuments to fit a liberal narrative for PC America. The dialogue is always one sided and left leaning. Considering most of the public commenting aren’t educated in terms of history outside of their one high school class.

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Kevin Moore 06/22/2017 at 3:55 PM

He spewed nothing but hate and ignorance in the press conference

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Kevin Moore 06/22/2017 at 3:56 PM

But he’s right though we do need to add a monument to the black Confederate soldiers like this guyhttps://youtu.be/fVYLswFcI48

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Kevin Moore 06/22/2017 at 3:57 PM

Of course we wouldn’t have this problem if history was taught such as the 500000 Irish were enslaved at the same time there only four hundred thousand blacks were brought to North America or the 1 million Europeans that were enslaved and taken to Africa at that same time by the Barbary Pirates that’s where the Marines got their name leathernecks from or we wouldn’t have a problem if history wouldn’t whitewashed for example of New Orleans 3000 blacks they were free owned 12000 black slaves and they didn’t treat her very well eitherhttps://youtu.be/Ab93DYcqrP8

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Michael Grabow 06/22/2017 at 4:00 PM

This article has nothing to do with removing them. Try reading before you comment to avoid looking like an idiot.

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Sarah Frank 06/22/2017 at 4:04 PM

I’m curious too…

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Jeremy Bradham 06/22/2017 at 4:07 PM

I read it before I commented. Always do. The mayors comments suggest that a liberal narrative will be told. And vilify those monuments. It is a given with liberals. But thanks for the great advice. What ever would I have done without your insightful comment haha. Have a great day troll.

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Joe Malerba 06/22/2017 at 4:26 PM

Leave our monuments alone.

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Scott Williams 06/22/2017 at 4:38 PM

One of my concerns is that we are now categorizing the generations that came before as nothing more than Jim Crow racists with no other motivation than white supremacy. I hope this commission looks at the whole history behind the creation of these monuments but the mayor’s opening statement tells me that is probably not the case.

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Will Hall 06/22/2017 at 5:50 PM

I believe that Stoney is doing the right thing. Sometimes you have to step on peoples toes to get things done. This city isn’t just for wealthy white people, hipsters, or Confederate history sympathizers. These monuments are offensive to alot of black residents in this city-but blacks in this city really don’t have a voice. And it’s not about erasing history, but moving on from it. You can never erase history. I remember driving my wife down Monument Ave, and showing her the statue of Jefferson Davis. It’s a beautiful statue, but as a black male in this city, how do you think that I feel about a statue of a man who said that blacks were given to the white race as a gift from God because of their ability to work in the sun in the fields?

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John Von Steuben 06/22/2017 at 4:56 PM

Idiotic arguments made by idiotic people

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Ben Tyree 06/22/2017 at 5:28 PM

So long as they produce a balanced and accurate version of the events, I think this is actually a good idea. I would think there would be more support for something like this as opposed as going down the same path as New Orleans and Charlottesville. Removing monuments and erasing history isn’t the answer. Being more inclusive, accurate, and diverse is. Let monument continue to be a space for public commemoration, but accessible to more than just white southerners. They were on the right track with that with the Arthur Ashe monument, as much controversy as the only Richmonder on monument avenue caused as he went up. The city and many institutions within it have done a tremendous amount of work already telling Richmond story in an accurate and fair manner, and to me this sounds like that trend will continue.

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John Von Steuben 06/22/2017 at 5:33 PM

Get me on the panel. I will offer something new.

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Scott Williams 06/22/2017 at 5:52 PM

This is the "context" one Richmond group proposed. Hopefully this is the extreme and the committee will come up with something better. However, Stoney made very similar opening syatememts.

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Scott Williams 06/22/2017 at 5:52 PM

This is the "context" one Richmond group proposed. Hopefully this is the extreme and the committee will come up with something better. However, Stoney made very similar opening statements.

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Paul Allen 06/22/2017 at 6:03 PM

(GIANT WET FART NOISE)

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Kay9 06/22/2017 at 8:17 PM

I’m **almost** at a loss for words over this one…Does Stoney have so much time on his hands that he has time for this? I guess the city’s outrageous murder problem has been solved, the senseless shootings are over, the school system had been fixed–they’re all accredited and SOL scores are up, City Hall is operating at peak efficiency and the taxpayers are being properly served, there’s no budget problems in the city, the streets, sidewalks, parks and alleys look glorious, generational poverty is no longer a city problem…

I seriously have to question this man’s very poor judgement. He’s NOT doing what he was elected to do.

I hope the Monument Avenue and Windsor Farms crowd begins to mobilize the efforts to get this guy outta here quickly.

He’s a complete waste of taxpayer dollars!

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Betty Jean Lavergne 06/22/2017 at 7:36 PM

Brian Noel well I happen to disagree with YOUR opinion!

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Brian Noel 06/22/2017 at 7:37 PM

That’s totally acceptable.

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Tammie Lyle 06/22/2017 at 7:54 PM

Stoney can leave them up. They been there so long and its not like they come to life and cause confusion. Take that extra money and cut these large trees down on Oakwood, help these schools in the city get better, help the homeless thats sleeping all around under his nose and other places, open summer programs and centers for young children while parents working, check on elderly programs in city. I’m sure everyone on here can think of at least two other things that money can be used for. Concentrate on all these old buildings and houses just sitting empty and are eye sores. Maybe cut the grass and weeds in city on all four sides of town.

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Mary 06/22/2017 at 8:58 PM

…and this evening a 7 year old child was shot in the chest on 22nd St in the east end. It’s all about priorities and at this point I’d rather see Stoney’s promised plan to deal with the rise of violence in the city.

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Diego Hernandez 06/22/2017 at 8:11 PM

Exactly!!!!! This just feels like damn politics. Do something meaningful for our citizens and city!

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Tammie Lyle 06/22/2017 at 8:11 PM

Yes!!!

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Eric Huffstutler 06/22/2017 at 9:12 PM

First, who wrote it? Just look at the URL address of the piece and you will see it came from the Mayor’s Press Secretary, Jim Nolan. Second, I see nowhere that they are wanting the statues removed. They want the plaques or etched words changed to read more the truth of who these people actually were and not memorializing their prejudice actions.

But it sounds like budgets are also in play with a “Plan B”, to advance education in schools about this period of time in history rather than skimming over it. But this too can be a fine line depending on the mindset of the teachers and how slanted they may want to teach it… meaning not truly accomplishing anything in the end or only adding to the confusion.

I would also be interested in facts. Since Millennials and younger generations have little to no interest in old things which also include family history, how many even think about the pre 1860s and slavery after 5 generation or more later? Or if it is even relevant in their own lives to dwell over it today… hence history can not be changed, just taught? That this movement is headed by either elders or closet segregationists with blinders on?

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Diego Hernandez 06/22/2017 at 8:17 PM

Ok so this text is pretty heavy. Where is it from exactly? And can it be verified? Just not to be taken lightly.

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Kay9 06/22/2017 at 9:22 PM Reply
Kimberly Phelps 06/22/2017 at 8:55 PM

Hire more police officers to lower the murder rate!

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Scott Williams 06/22/2017 at 9:02 PM

Style Weekly. April 4, 2017. Caption:A group called Truthful History Heals has created a mockup of a historical marker for the Robert E. Lee statue. It has one for each Confederate monument, as well as a general one for the avenue, as an example of how context could be added.

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Tammie Lyle 06/22/2017 at 9:08 PM

We could use more police for quicker response time. You need a mind reader to predict when a crime is about to happen.Just pray people wake up and put a little love in their hearts or just have a conscious.

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Sharon Smith 06/22/2017 at 9:20 PM

Yes got money 2 pay for that bs but no money for more police

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Tammie Lyle 06/22/2017 at 9:21 PM

Waiting for his input on today

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Sharon Smith 06/22/2017 at 9:22 PM

Said nothing so far Alfred Durham either so called Police chief

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Brian Noel 06/22/2017 at 10:07 PM

For those who may still be confused about the reason southern states succeeded (Cliffs notes version: it was slavery, according to their own words) – https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states

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Rita Austera 06/22/2017 at 11:07 PM

We don’t get to pick and choose our history. As Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy, it stands to reason there’s much here pertaining to the war between the states. There are people from all over the world who are still fascinated with that whole era. It certainly brings in the tourist dollars.
I would welcome the addition of more statues. I feel there are many worthy Viginians who would make fine additions.

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Diana Spencer 06/22/2017 at 10:15 PM

Yes saw on the news tonight.

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Mandy Bass 06/22/2017 at 10:19 PM

No money is being spent on a commission. These are people participating in addition to their normal duties. Multi agency boards don’t cost money

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Tammie Lyle 06/22/2017 at 11:51 PM

The lil fellow on 20th is one of my old daycare babies

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Jason Knight 06/23/2017 at 8:31 AM

I appreciate the balanced approach Stoney is advocating; notice, he wasn’t calling for the outright destruction or removal of the monuments. However, his comments reveal a disgusting lack of understanding of basic historical context, that we don’t judge historical figures based on contemporary social morays but on the time in which they lived. Ironically, offering context is what he is espousing, but the contextual account rendered in his speech is disgracefully inaccurate and inflammatory. Condemning R.E.Lee for his uncompromising devotion to Virginia is like condemning Julius Caesar for being a dictator. PC at its worst!

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Jeremy Moore 06/23/2017 at 10:21 AM

This seems like a really smart way to deal with this issue. The mayor is not just laying down the law and demanding them to be removed, he is setting up a board of people, he is allowing the public to put in their opinions and drawing a consensus from that. Isn’t that how democracy works? That is a sign of good leader to me.

Also I am so confused as to why people keep saying this is erasing history. That is one of the most ignorant comments I’ve read. Taking down a statue isn’t erasing history, it’s still there in books, museums, taught at school, in movies, saturated in all of the south. This act is merely choosing not to celebrate the evils of history that were committed. To have it not be shoved in our face every time we drive down road. And it is way past time. There is a reason why no one erected monuments of Hilter, we weren’t trying to ‘erase him’. Everyone knows who he is without a statue. Why was one of the first acts of the people in Iraq was to pull down the statue of Sadam or why was the statue of Stalin pulled down. Just because something is history, doesn’t mean it has to be glorified. History like this belongs in a museum, along with other artifacts. I am all about telling the story of what our country was and how far we have come since then. Hopefully we can use it learn from it and grow.

And for the person that said that the soldiers were just defending their homeland and didn’t know what they were fighting for is a load of shit. If you look at history a lot of southern people fought on the northern side and vice versa because of their beliefs.

Anyways well done mayor.

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Clay Street 06/23/2017 at 10:41 AM

The sheer volume of (strongly-worded) comments on this post in such a short time (and many from people I have never before seen comment on CHPN) really makes clear that open dialogue and conversation is necessary re: Richmond’s Confederate monuments. It’s time people learn how to open up and talk about this, because there are a lot of different perspectives. That’s the point of the commission, people!

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Clare Enkahl 06/23/2017 at 11:19 AM

Get rid of the monuments now. Why? Answer the following questions yourself:

Do we really expect monuments to tell a story that our education system, historical societies and historical libraries are supposed to tell?

Do we really expect a commission to provide historical ‘context’ that will enlighten the citizenry (suggesting the school systems did not) and satisfy critics and politicians?

Do we really see an end to politicians dredging up and recycling this topic every election cycle for the purpose of creating and/or enhancing divisions among the citizens? This has been going on for decades.

The vast majority of citizens do not believe in the cause that the men in these monuments represented and fought for so why let politicians beat us with this wasteful, polarizing weapon? To do so magnifies the voice of whatever minority believed/believes in that cause.

A recurrent theme is that these monuments are deeply offensive to a substantial portion of the citizenry. If true, why sustain any such symbol at the government’s expense? Those that, for whatever reason, feel the importance of these or any other such monuments should be given the opportunity to take possession and move them to an appropriate non-government site as they see fit.

As one of the reference links said, we do walk with history as a partner at our side on the path to the future. The trick is to learn from that partner and not be enslaved to it.

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Erin Hollaway Palmer 06/23/2017 at 11:22 AM

Regarding the initial comment "This is the "context" one Richmond group proposed. Hopefully this is the extreme and the committee will come up with something better" I think it can only be considered "extreme" if you don’t accept that slavery was the true cause of the Civil War, as the seceding states themselves made plain. It’s only extreme if you’ve bought into Lost Cause propaganda. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/

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Eric Huffstutler 06/23/2017 at 1:38 PM

No, there never were or are any “statues” of Hitler because he did not want any of himself. There are busts of him but Hitler is a “persona non grata” in Germany. You would be comparing Apples to Oranges though when you try to compare him to Robert E. Lee. Lee did not systematically try to eradicate a complete sect of people. You never heard of Lee (or any other Confederate soldier) deliberately killing and burning millions of free blacks or slaves.

True, you have to realize that when these monuments were erected, people who fought in the Civil War were still alive and even gathered annually, like WWII Vets do today. Virginia was proud of its Confederate heritage and black were still subordinates due in part by segregation so had no real say in the matter then.

Monument Avenue is about one of the ONLY tourist attractions that Richmond promotes and yet, we are as rich, if not richer, city with its history than anywhere else in the country. But, we do not embrace it to bring in revenue. These monuments are works of art, protected, and have assessed value. You will not see equal craftsmanship work with today’s lackluster construction. Take for example the monument of Arthur Ashe. It is so blasé and forgettable… nothing grand about it. Remove the statues then you will not only have people who built their houses or live along the Avenue due to them up in arms, but also loose a major tourist attraction since people come to Richmond due to its heritage of being the Confederate Capitol. If you tear down the monuments then you need to tear down the biggest of them all. The White House of the Confederacy where Jefferson Davis lived… or, change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway, which honors his name? Or desecrate his burial site by removing the statue in Hollywood Cemetery? If you want to build a slave museum and trail, you can’t avoid the reasons why they will exist. If you have one then respect the other.

I think the easiest and cheapest way to handle it would be to place a metal historic marker with a 21st Century disclaimer at each, that explains what and why the late 19th-early 20th Century markers read as they do. Then expand the subject in schools.

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Scott Williams 06/23/2017 at 1:36 PM

Not saying slavery had nothing to do with the war.

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Rita Austera 06/23/2017 at 2:54 PM

I recently picked up a small newspaper at the library. One article was degrading Mayor Stoney for having not addressed the monument issue as mayors in other states have done in recent months.
I suspect Mayor Stoney has felt pressure from certain citizens/groups. I’m sure he’ll feel pressure from those with differing opinions. Certainly no one should be surprised this is happening.
I too feel there are more pressing issues at hand. The shootings have become insane. That is at the top of the list of my concerns Mayor Stoney.

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Jeremy Moore 06/23/2017 at 3:04 PM

With all due respect sir, who gives a shit about how good the art is. That doesn’t even touch on the topic at hand. If that is your sole argument to keep around an offensive degrading monument then clearly you have no understanding of the issue. Just because you can gain money off of something evil doesn’t make it right. The white House of the Confederacy wasn’t erected to glorify a person who stood for taking away the rights of another human, for making them less equal then they were, for going against everything our country was suppose to stand for. These men were traitors against their own country at best.

You make a good point..”True, you have to realize that when these monuments were erected, people who fought in the Civil War were still alive and even gathered annually…” We no longer live in those times, Thank God, so why are we still stuck with their ideals. We don’t believe that way anymore so why should our art reflect that? It’s history your right, so lets put history where it belongs and give it context. It doesn’t need to decorate our city. If you walked into a persons house and they had painting of dogs covering every wall you would assume they were dog lovers. If people come into our city and see statues of men who fought for slavery what do you think they would assume…

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booster 06/23/2017 at 5:31 PM

The questions is not just what the monuments mean. The question is also are we the kind society that does this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1326063/After-1700-years-Buddhas-fall-to-Taliban-dynamite.html

Maybe we are.

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Eric Huffstutler 06/23/2017 at 5:54 PM

@71 Jeremy Moore, if I didn’t know better I would say your comments border on militant thinking. There are better ways to handle the situation than tear down monuments, as @72 booster points out with their link and the comments of amending the monument narratives. OK, if we tear down these huge and valuable monuments along a major tourist route, and destroy property values for those living on either side of the street from them, just what do you propose to replace them to draw in tourists and revenue? Where will the millions of dollars come from? I am sorry but people do come to Richmond because of the Civil War history which include these figures that the statues represent. That is a major claim of fame for our city, all things Civil War related. Another is also being the slave trade capital, which is the subject matter of the war. Is that something to glorify with a slave museum and trail for people visiting the city to see? It works both ways.

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23ALLDAY 06/23/2017 at 6:03 PM

Equating Jefferson Davis and Buddha is grossly wrong

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Eric Huffstutler 06/23/2017 at 8:10 PM

@74 23ALLDAY, whaaat? I know I didn’t.

To clarify another point I made about the White House of the Confederacy and Jefferson Finis Davis. It is symbolism. Just like the White House in Washington, DC (which by the way was built with slave labor), represents America and the current Presidency, so did, and does, the Confederate White House, which Davis was the President of the pro slavery Confederacy. Just because the building doesn’t have a human face on it like a statue, doesn’t lessen its place in history and what it represents as the heart of the Confederacy.

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BAF 06/23/2017 at 8:59 PM

A couple of thoughts:

1. If you want to take down statues, you can start with Harry Flood Byrd at the State Capitol who fought for Massive Resistance in the face of the Supreme Court. The man was a straight up criminal IN HIS TIME. His memorial is a stain on Capitol Square. This is nothing that Stoney can fix, but I mention it anyway.

2. I am all for removing Jeff Davis. He’s not a Virginian. He led a traitorous breakaway territory. He doesn’t deserve to be memorialized beyond his own grave in Hollywood. That statue is worthy of removal.

3. The others were Virginians who, while fighting for an odious cause, were military geniuses. I have no issue with keeping them up provided we give them realistic historical context. The Lee statue in particular is a stunning piece of statuary no matter what you think of the man. Far better art for art’s sake than some of the murals around town or that thing that hangs under the highway across from Main Street Station.

4. Monument Avenue needs to have more statues. Doug WIlder who more than any one person represents how far Virginia has come might be one new statue. Booker T. Washington would be another. Want some real balance? How about Nat Turner?

5. The war happened. The monuments happened. They may make us uncomfortable, but they can also keep us from forgetting. This was the capitol of the Confederacy. If this history is to be remembered anywhere, it should be remembered and memorialized here in Richmond. It needs to be examined, debated and analyzed. People erected these statues for reasons we may not agree with today. But that doesn’t mean it never happened or the fact that they did it should be washed away. We need the reminders of our errors as humans to keep us from doing it again.

6. To those who use the Hitler statue argument, I say this. There are many monuments to the Holocaust that remain. Go visit Dachau and Auschwitz. They are preserved so we do not forget. With the Civil War we do not have many meaningful historic structures that represent the tragedy of human bondage. We do, however, have these statues. It’s not ideal, but what we can do is create the context so that people who view them know what they mean to us now and why it is important that we never ever ever forget.

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Eric Huffstutler 06/24/2017 at 10:24 AM

@76 BAF, well said comments as many others here have also made… from why dredge it up again to only heighten division, to spending energy and money elsewhere, to coming up with solutions.

Your comment #6 about the Concentration Camps hits home with my @75 comment above concerning buildings being symbolism. But, have you forgotten about our own Holocaust Museum at Shockoe, and the death camp cattle car used to transport Jews to their death, sitting in front of it on Cary Street? Just that single artifact alone, hits hard for what it represents. Think of what any Jewish (or even German) person passing by it daily might think about its existence.

There is a reason why the statue of Jefferson Davis is on Monument Avenue along with the others who fought to support the cause he lead. It is clearly seen behind him on the column which reads that he was the President of the Confederate States of America. Richmond was the capital of the Confederate States of America, so it is fitting.

I am not sure how much the metal historical markers, the ones on posts seen in front of buildings planted on the sidewalk, cost the city each? But I think that would be the easiest and cheapest solution by planting one at each monument with the 21st Century “context” on it. This will also preserve the original statues as they were built.

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 9:56 PM

The commission is voluntary and part of its job is to explore options for private funding to add contextual signage. We spend plenty of money maintaining the statues, we can spend some time in honest conversation about the rest of the story.

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 9:57 PM

Mandy Bass exactly. And part of their task is to identify sources of private funding to tell ALL of the story.

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 10:00 PM

Those who oppose the commission are trying to maintain the lopsided version of history now being told. It’s long past time for all of history to be told. We need a memorial and museum for Lumpkin’s Jail; a statue of Gabriel (in a prominent place); a statue of Elizabeth Van Lee. That’s just a start.

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 10:00 PM

Those who oppose the commission are trying to maintain the lopsided version of history now being told. It’s long past time for all of history to be told. We need a memorial and museum for Lumpkin’s Jail; a statue of Gabriel (in a prominent place); a statue of Elizabeth Van Lee; and memorials to John and Robert Pleasants.

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 10:05 PM

If the facts on the sign are accurate then why is it "extreme"? It’s the truth. Perhaps what’s extreme is the gap between what you’ve believed to be the facts and the actual facts. That’s what’s known as "false narrative."

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Tricia Dunlap 06/24/2017 at 10:19 PM

It’s a voluntary commission that will seek private funding for any additions.

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Bewildered and amused 06/25/2017 at 6:50 AM

Hello?
Firstly

Lincoln told secessionist states to come back to the union and I will guarantee the institute of slavery

Lincoln outlawed slavery yes
-> in the states the had succeeded

??It was still at the same time perfectly legal to own slaves in states that were still in the Union??

The war wasn’t about slavery

Now that that ignorance is behind us

Secondly
big whoop
what does it matter? Really, i ask what does it matter?

Imagine being on a hike and discover being 11 miles off course
All the wailing and crying aint ever gonna change that
It only would show someone to be a useless bitch which does nothing to contribute towards getting back on course
People standing here today with indignant outrage for what?
Does the matter that I wasn’t a slave you weren’t a Slave come to mind?
This was over a hundred years ago, why is everyone shackling themselves and enslaving themselves with this Ridiculousness?
We need to look towards the future
A real future , not some fantasy ” so it’ll never happen again crap’
“So history won’t repeat it self malarkey”

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John M 06/25/2017 at 9:10 AM

Commission To Add ‘Context’ To Richmond’s Confederate Monuments
http://www.npr.org/2017/06/25/534286455/commission-to-add-context-to-richmonds-confederate-monuments

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Hansi Armentrout 06/25/2017 at 8:47 PM

Byron Faidley right. Because the erecting them was a fair and balanced process

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Paul Boulden Jr. 06/26/2017 at 1:55 AM

How many times did Virginia vote on secession? What were the statements made regarding the decision of the Commonwealth…lets see that cast in bronze as part of fair and balanced context.

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Jeremy Moore 06/26/2017 at 1:30 PM

@73 Eric. Pretty sure you’re not really reading what I wrote. I said nothing about destroying them. I am pretty sure, I said that they are history and should be placed appropriately so, in a museum. What I am saying is they don’t need to be lining our streets in celebratory status,(which is militant) like they accomplished something grand that we need to look up to on a pedestal. Take them off their pedestal put them in a museum with context of what they did and why and leave it to these tourists to decide their thoughts on the issue. See you still get your precious tourist money made off of slavery that you seem so desperately to value, and the rest of us who loathe such actions don’t have to be forced to gaze on such men and their authorities.

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Patsy Anne Bickerstaff 08/08/2017 at 12:30 PM

Richmond’s legacy is one of Reconciliation. From 1865, when Robert E. Lee knelt at the communion rail of St. Paul’s, alongside and African-American gentleman, to the 1930’s when Maggie L. Walker praised Richmond Police for their assistance with public functions she sponsored, to the widespread satisfaction and acceptance of the Arthur Ashe monument as analogous to the Modern Art in the VMFA, Richmond has been able to find its way through the past with fewer interracial and other social problems than some places which pride themselve on being part of the “winning side.” It would be a shame, after Arthur Ashe had to live through racial segregation most of his life, to re-segregate him, and leave it to strangers to suspect that the Confederate statues were removed or destroyed because “racist Richmonders” thought his monument had somehow spoiled the outdoor museum, and it wasn’t good enough for their generals any more. Paris has monuments to the French Revolution, and to the kings who were overthrown,as well as over a hundred women. London keeps the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London, where people were tortured and killed. Great cities retain their history. They don’t hide it. And Jeremy, like it or not, there were other factors than slavery. Federal laws favoring corporate interests at the expense of Southern trade and livelihood was a factor, too. When, forgetting that, we are doomed to repeat it, we end up with a disgraced governor, or with Citizens United.

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