Richmond Kickstarts Process to Re-evaluate Monument Avenue

Aug 8, 2017

 

This Monday, July 17, 2017, image shows lightning streaking across the sky behind the statue honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. As cities across the United States are removing Confederate statues and other symbols, dispensing with what some see as offensive artifacts of a shameful past marked by racism and slavery, Richmond is taking a go-slow approach.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

 

Across Virginia, communities are grappling with how to handle Confederate monuments in their midsts. In Richmond, the city is preparing to tackle not just one monument, but an entire avenue of them.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this preview of the first in a series of three public hearings.

 

 

Monument Avenue stretches five miles -- it’s broad, leafy and cobblestoned, with large roundabouts and grand statues of Confederate generals. Now, Richmond’s mayor has pulled together a commission and tasked them with rethinking what Monument Avenue looks like.

“The commission's charge has never been removal, and that’s very important to understand,” reminds Gregg Kimball, a historian with the Library of Virginia.

Kimball is co-chair of the group. This week, they’re holding the first of three public input meetings.

“What we want the public to come to us with is ‘How do you want to talk about these monuments? What do they mean to us? And what do they mean to the people who created them?”’

Learn More and Share Your Opinion: MonumentAvenueCommission.org

Wednesday evening, community members will each get two minutes to give ideas on how to add context to the existing monuments, and suggest people and events to memorialize in new monuments.

That meeting is 6:30 at the Virginia Historical Society. A second public input meeting is set for September 13. A third is still unscheduled, but Richmond residents can share opinions online.

The commission, comprised largely of historians and scholars, has until the end of October to pull together suggestions. What happens from there, is in the hands of politicians.

 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association