A Confederate statue in Virginia has been removed by officials, as protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd and demanding an end to systemic racism continued in the state and across the nation.
“Alexandria, like all great cities, is constantly changing and evolving,” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said on Twitter Tuesday morning. The city, known for its Old Town community with architecture that harkens back to Colonial days, is a Washington suburb.
The statue of a Confederate soldier was placed prominently at the intersection of Old Town in 1889. More from The Washingtonian:
The Caspar Buberl statue, called Appomattox, has stood at the intersection of South Washington and Prince Streets since 1889, a location chosen because it was where many Confederate soldiers gathered to leave for war. The city, which stopped flying Confederate flags five years ago, has since hoped to get rid of the monument to its Confederate past, a task complicated by a Virginia law that protected it. Governor Ralph Northam signed a law this April that allows cities to remove Confederate monuments. It will go into effect July 1. Alexandria renamed its portion of Route 1, formerly called Jefferson Davis Highway, last year.
Wilson told the publication the city had been in talks with the United Daughters of the Confederacy about the statue’s removal. The UDC pushed for the placement throughout Southern states of hundreds of statues honoring the Confederacy and its leading figures, starting in the 1890s. The group was a leader in efforts to rewrite history, romanticizing the treatment of slaves prior to the Civil War and promoting the false narratives that slavery wasn’t the prime cause of the conflict, even framing the Confederacy as a non-racist institution. That simply isn’t true.
As the nationwide protest erupted last week following the death of Floyd in Minneapolis as an officer pressed his knee for several minutes against his neck, the UDC headquarters in Richmond, Virginia ― the capital of the Confederacy ― was set on fire. Firefighters successfully extinguished the blaze.
In Alabama, protestors converged on a 115-year-old Confederate monument from a public park in Birmingham on Sunday to take it down. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin showed up and urged protestors to leave it alone, saying he would have the city tear it down instead.
“I understand the frustration and the anger that you have,” Woodfin said. “Allow me to finish the job for you.”
The Birmingham statue was removed Monday night.