WASHINGTON – A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that has represented Virginia in the U.S. Capitol for 111 years has been removed.
The Washington Post reports that workers removed the statue from Statuary Hall early Monday morning.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam had requested the removal over the summer. A commission formed by the General Assembly decided that Lee was not a fitting symbol for the state.
Lee’s statue had stood with George Washington’s statue since 1909 as Virginia’s representatives in the Capitol’s honorary hall. Every state gets two statues in the hall.
The state commission has recommended replacing Lee’s statue with a likeness of Barbara Johns. She protested poor conditions at her all-Black high school in the town of Farmville in 1951. Her court case became part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. It struck down racial segregation in public schools nationwide.
“I look forward to seeing a trailblazing young woman of color represent Virginia in the U.S. Capitol, where visitors will learn about Barbara Johns’ contributions to America and be empowered to create positive change in their communities just like she did,” Northam said Sunday in a news release.