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Robert E. Lee statue removed from U.S. Capitol; Barbara Rose Johns to replace him

 Governor Ralph Northam announced on December 21 that Virginia’s statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was removed from the United States Capitol overnight. Lee's statue has stood in the Capitol for 111 years alongside George Washington as the statue representation for the commonwealth of Virginia.

On December 16, the Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol selected civil rights icon, Barbara Rose Johns, to replace the Robert E. Lee statue, after receiving public input from Virginia residents during several virtual public hearings.

Civil rights attorney Oliver Hill Sr., John Mercer Langston, and Maggie Walker were also considered to replace Lee's statue.

A panel voted last week to remove the statue. There is no word yet on when the new statue will be erected.

"The two statues were added in 1909, which was 44 years after the Confederacy rebelled against the United States and was defeated. The Lee statue had been one among 13 located in the Crypt of the Capitol, representing the 13 original colonies," a statement from the Governor's office stated.

“We should all be proud of this important step forward for our Commonwealth and our country,” said Governor Northam.

The Confederacy is a symbol of Virginia’s racist and divisive history, and it is past time we tell our story with images of perseverance, diversity, and inclusion. 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.

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