WASHINGTON – The state of Virginia will soon replace a statue of Robert E. Lee at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. And there are now five finalists for the person whose statue will replace the Confederate general.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the finalists are all storied Virginians who are people of color.
The finalists include civil rights attorney Oliver Hill Sr. and teenage civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. Both are connected to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case that found that government-segregated public schools were unconstitutional.
Another finalist is Maggie Walker. She was the first Black woman to charter a bank in the U.S.
John Mercer Langston, Virginia’s first Black member of Congress, is also being considered.
The fifth finalist is Pocahontas. She lived in what is now Virginia in the 1600s when English colonists arrived. Pocahontas was taken prisoner and agreed to marry colonist John Rolfe in a diplomatic move to save her people from invading forces.
The Commission For Historical Statues In The United States Capitol will make its recommendation virtually on Wednesday to Virginia’s General Assembly. The state decided to replace the Lee statue following the killing of a Black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis.