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Three Virginia Counties Oppose Removal of Civil War Monuments

Virginia had over 240 Confederate monuments and symbols at one time

Three counties in Virginia have opposed ballot measures calling for the removal of Civil War monuments.

The results surprised many since Virginia has removed several statues dedicated to prominent Confederate figures. 

Earlier this year, a 12-ton statue of General Robert E. Lee was taken down from its display in Richmond, where it has resided for over 130 years. 

At the time, Gov. Ralph Northam said it represented “400 years of history that we should not be proud of.”

This was a long time coming [and] part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” he said in a statement on Sept. 8.

A statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson had previously been taken down along with a tribute to Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacagawea.

Calls to remove images and memorials dedicated to the Confederacy increased following George Floyd’s death and the months of increasing racial tension during the summer of 2020.

Following a unanimous vote in September, the Mathews County Board of Supervisors decided to allow voters to determine the monument’s fate during the 2021 election. 

The Mathews County Confederate Monument was dedicated in 1912 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It resides at the intersection of Church Street and Court Street in Mathews.

With 3,778 votes, 80% of residents rejected the petition to remove the monument. Fewer than 1,000 voters were in favor.

Middlesex County also has a Confederate monument which was erected in 1910 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In July, the Board of Supervisors voted three-to-two for the referendum. Yesterday, voters in the county came out against the monument’s removal — 3,229 (75%) to 1,076 (25%).

There was a third ballot measure regarding the removal of a Confederate war monument in front of the Nottoway County courthouse since 1893. Nottoway County is also home to Fort Pickett, which was named for Confederate Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett. The military base, which is predominately used by the Virginia National Guard, will undergo a name change following a directive from Congress designed to scrub any military bases that are named in commemoration of any member of the Confederacy.

Following the trend, the measure was defeated in Nottoway County with 68% of voters saying no.

There are 80 counties in the state that still have confederate monuments.

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