VA Gov. Ralph Northam removes statue of Robert E. Lee from U.S. Capitol building

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been removed from the U.S. Capitol. It will be moved to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond and replaced by a statue of civil rights icon Barbara Johns instead.

“Last night, Virginia removed its statue of Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol. This is an important step forward—it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion,” Northam tweeted, along with photos of the statue’s removal.

The Hill reports that Northam’s office said the step is long overdue and a step forward in the right direction.

“We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country,” Northam said. “The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion. I look forward to seeing a trailblazing young woman of color represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol, where visitors will learn about Barbara Johns’ contributions to America and be empowered to create positive change in their communities just like she did.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was also pleased with the decision.

“The Congress will continue our work to rid the Capitol of homages to hate, as we fight to end the scourge of racism in our country. There is no room for celebrating the bigotry of the Confederacy in the Capitol or any other place of honor in our country,” she said.

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