Richmond’s mayor ordered all monuments to the Confederacy be removed from city land Wednesday. A statue of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson, one of roughly a dozen throughout the city, was removed the same day. Mayor Levar Stoney told the Associate Press, “Failing to remove the statues now poses a severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protesters attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves, or confront others who are also doing so, the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death.” Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from one of the city’s main avenues the day before.
The orders comes amid nationwide protests against racial injustice and a wide reckoning over the presence of Confederate statues that remain across the country. Mississippi’s governor signed an order Tuesday mandating the removal of the Confederate flag from within his state’s flag.