After a month of turmoil and uncertainty surrounding the city of Charlottesville, the City Council convened to address the situation at hand after the tragic events that transpired on August 12th. In a meeting on September 5th, the Council unanimously approved the removal of the statue of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from Justice Park.
Previously, the Council voted 3-2 to remove the statue of General Robert E. Lee, and then voted 3-2 in April to sell the statue. Both times, measures were taken to keep the statue in place, including an injunction issued by Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Richard Moore in response to a lawsuit filed against the City of Charlottesville in March.
The decision to remove the Jackson statue was met with no resistance from within the City Council.
Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy explained, “This is a complete and total Council decision. We are all in favor of this. This is a situation we are looking to move forward on, hopefully with favor from the courts, to provide equity within our public spaces and a sense of healing for our city.”
City Councilor Bob Fenwick echoed these remarks by stating, “These statues belong in a museum…On August 12th, we saw the kind of [people] those statues attract and it was dark and sinister. We are not by removing these statues … destroying history.”
Similar sentiments are expressed in Holland Cotter’s article, “We Need to Move, Not Destroy, Confederate Monuments”, which was featured in The New York Times.
The removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue will be a good initial step to restoring peace in the city of Charlottesville after this summer’s events. All the city can hope for now is that the process will not be met with opposition.