Virginia and Richmond officials announced a tentative agreement Thursday to transfer ownership of the city’s near-retired Confederate monuments to the Virginia Museum of Black History and Cultural Center.
Among the monuments included in the transfer is a huge statue of General Robert E. Lee that was removed this year, as well as the 12-meter (40-foot) high pedestal that supported it. Work to remove the pedestal from its site is ongoing.
Under the plan announced by Governor Ralph Northam and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, the Museum of Black History would work with Richmond’s The Valentine museum and the local community to determine the fate of the monuments.
The deal requires City Council approval, which Stoney said he would seek next month. The agreement would allow the community to take a deliberate approach to dealing with these dividing symbols, Stoney said in a statement.
“Entrusting the future of these monuments and pedestals to two of our most respected institutions is the right thing to do,” Stoney noted.
Stoney led the removal of the city’s Confederate monuments last summer amid the protest movement that erupted after the murder of African-American George Floyd by police.
The statues have been in storage ever since, at least part of that time in the city’s sewage plant. Not all pedestals have been removed.
Around the same time that the statues were being removed from the city, Northam announced plans to remove the Lee statue, located on state property. However, litigation delayed his plans until early this year.
The statue was removed in September and work to dismantle the massive pedestal began earlier this month.