The statues that have incited violence throughout the Charlottesville, VA community have been removed, but not before making history one last time.
Upon the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue, in Richmond, Virginia, two separate time capsules were discovered and opened this past December. The first time capsule, found within the pedestal of the statue, contained several objects in relation to the Confederacy, including an 1875 almanac, two withered books, a coin and a cloth envelope.
The second capsule was a copper box, buried beneath the statue. Historians believe this time capsule to be from October 1887. Included in the capsule was an 1865 edition of Harper’s Weekly magazine with a clear image of a figure weeping over Abraham Lincoln’s grave, a Bible with a coin stuck to it and a Richmond directory. In addition to these objects, salvaged from water damage, were more newspapers, books, coins, letters and even a type of bullet used during the Civil War.
Prior to these discoveries, Governor Ralph Northam announced that a new capsule would be made to replace the 134-year-old artifact that had not yet been found. To decide the contents of the capsule, Governor Northam turned to the community. He sought input from Virginia citizens, Richmond historians and members of his cabinet. Some of the artifacts chosen include a vaccination card, a Black Lives Matter sticker and a poem written in Unified English Braille.
Governor Northam discussed this project with optimism: “It’s time to say to the world, this is today’s Virginia, not yesterday’s. And one day, when future generations look back at this moment, they will be able to learn about the inclusive, welcoming Commonwealth that we are building together.”