[guest post by Dana]
After a two-year effort, the city of Richmond, Virginia, chosen capital of the Confederacy, removed its last remaining city-owned Confederate monument:
After receiving a favorable court ruling last week, workers made quick work to remove the A.P. Hill statue on the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road. Team Henry Enterprises, the Newport News-based contractor that dismantled the Robert E. Lee monuments and others, were contracted to remove the Hill statue.
“I’m just proud to see my city start a project and finish a project,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “This is something that we committed to years ago, when we sought out to turn the page on our Confederate history and start running a new chapter for the city of Richmond.”
“Richmond had more Confederate monuments than any other city in the United States of America, so this wasn’t just two years of work, this was 100 years of difficulty,” said Stoney. “I’m proud that we’ve now arrived at this moment in our history.”
The report says that the city officials confirm that the statue will be donated to the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia.
The removal of Hill’s statue, however, was not without complications:
Several indirect descendants of the Confederate general opposed the city’s plans and made their case in court following the city’s petition in May 2022. Their dispute centered on who is the rightful owner of the 130-year-old monument…“To us this is his headstone,” said John Hill, one of the Confederate general’s collateral descendants. “I feel like anyone else with a headstone with their family name on it, you don’t want to see it come down.”
After multiple court proceedings, Hill’s legal efforts were rebuffed by a Richmond Circuit Court judge in December.
[Hill]…said he doesn’t oppose the city’s plan to return Ambrose Powell Hill to his Culpepper home, but he intends to file an appeal to retain ownership of the statue.
I don’t think Hill’s claim that anyone with a headstone bearing their family name would not want to see it come down is true across the board. As far as monuments go, even the descendants of Confederate leaders wanted to see statues of their forefathers taken down:
The great-great grandchildren of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson have a message for those who adamantly want to preserve the Confederate leaders’ monuments: Let it go.
Gen. Robert E. Lee:
“Eventually, someone is going to have to make a decision, and if that’s the local lawmaker, so be it. But we have to be able to have that conversation without all of the hatred and the violence. And if they choose to take those statues down, fine,” Robert E. Lee V, 54, of Washington DC, told CNN.
Bertram Hayes-Davis, great-great-grandson of the Confederate president Jefferson Davis told CNN’s Don Lemon that such statues should be moved to a museum if “that’s offensive to a large majority of the public.”
“In a public place, if it is offensive and people are taking issue with it, let’s move it. Let’s put it somewhere where historically it fits with the area around it so you can have people come to see it, who want to understand that history and that individual.”
Two men who say they are the great-great grandsons of Stonewall Jackson published an open letter asking the Richmond mayor to remove Jackson’s statue – and others – from a prominent avenue in Richmond.
“We are writing to say that we understand justice very differently from our grandfather’s grandfather, and we wish to make it clear his statue does not represent us”, the open letter read in part…William Jackson Christian and Warren Edmund Christian said they know there are two sides to Jackson. He taught Sunday school to slaves, for instance. “But we cannot ignore his decision to own slaves, his decision to go to war for the Confederacy, and, ultimately, the fact that he was a white man fighting on the side of white supremacy.”
Compare those statements with this tidbit from descendant John Hill:
Hill said he was opposed to the removal of all the Richmond-owned Confederate statues because he sees them as a part of history. He also said that although many of the statues are seen as symbols of slavery and oppression, his ancestor did not own slaves.
“All of his census documents show he never owned a slave and he did not believe in slavery,” he said
Ambrose Powell Hill was born on November 9, 1825, at Greenland, his father’s plantation near Culpeper…Hill was a Confederate general in the Army of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Behind Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and James Longstreet, “Little Powell,” as he was sometimes called, was Robert E. Lee‘s most trusted lieutenant, best known for leading his Light Division in headlong charges but just as effective when making stubborn defensive stands…he fought hard and well at Antietam (1862) and Chancellorsville (1863), and after Jackson’s death he took over the army’s new Third Corps.
Turn the page.