Virginia Democrat Gov Northam to remove graffiti-covered pedestal of now gone Robert E. Lee statue

Northam had said the pedestal would remain after statue was removed

Updated: December 6, 2021 - 10:15am

Virginia Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam announced over the weekend that his administration will remove a large pedestal that until recently supported a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, removing the last vestige of the memorial in the state capital Richmond.

The outgoing governor removed the statue earlier this year but said the pedestal, now coated in graffiti, would remain. 

The statue was located on the grassy island in the middle of a roundabout in Richmond. Northam has announced he will transfer ownership of the land from the state to the city. 

"It was important to us that we do it now and before we leave office," said a spokesperson for Northam, leaving in January on term limits.

According to the governor's team, state ownership of the land has created a logistical headache for maintenance and security.

The removal is expected to be mostly complete by the end of December.

"This land is in the middle of Richmond, and residents will determine the future of this space," Northam said. "The commonwealth will remove the pedestal and we anticipate a safe removal and a successful conclusion to this project."

Yet to be found is a time capsule from 1887 that was believed to be stored underneath the pedestal. The governor's administration failed to find it in September when they went searching. 

The statue's removal became a central focus for some Virginians following the May 2020 killing of George Floyd and the summer of racially charged protests that followed. Much of the graffiti of the pedestal is reportedly anti-police messaging. 

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