After years of controversy, a statue honoring Confederate soldiers was removed from an intersection in Old Town Alexandria early Tuesday morning.
“Alexandria, like all great cities, is constantly changing and evolving,” Mayor of Alexandria Justin Wilson said in a tweet this morning.
According to reports by ALX, the statue was removed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a group that has supported white supremacists in the past. The UDC owned the statue and recently had their headquarters set on fire in Richmond.
“The UDC has a long and inglorious history of misrepresenting the past,” Virginia Commonwealth University Prof. Gregory Smithers said in an interview with Dogwood. “In general, I’d describe it as preserving a history guided by self-deceit and willed ignorance.”
This statue was taken down during nationwide protests against racism and police brutality after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a Minneapolis police officer last week. The officer, Derek Chauvin, stuck his knee in Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while Floyd begged for his life.
Numerous protests have occurred across the commonwealth. During a demonstration in Richmond, the UDC headquarters was targeted by protesters, along with several other Confederate monuments.
Wilson has said that he does not know what the United Daughters of the Confederacy will do with the statue now that it’s been removed.
The statue has been at the center of controversy for decades with removal advocates calling the statue a “celebration of the city’s legacy of racism and slavery.” The Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to remove the statue in 2016, but at the time state law required the General Assembly’s approval to remove “war memorials.” Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation overturning that law this year.
Elle Meyers contributed reporting.