The House of Delegates voted 63-34 to remove the statue of former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr., from Capitol Square in Richmond.
Byrd was a Democrat and the Governor of Virginia from 1926 to 1930. He then served as Virginia’s United States Senator from 1933 to 1965. He fought hard against segregating Virginia’s school systems. Byrd was the leader of ‘Massive Resistance’, an organized effort from white politicians to resist desegregating schools after the Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954.
Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk) sponsored the bill in the House of Delegates. “Racism and its symbols, obvious and subtle, have no place in this new Virginia decade,” Jones said after the vote. “Monuments to segregation, Massive Resistance, and the subjugation of one race below another, such as the Byrd statue, serve only as a reminder of the overt and institutional racism that has and continues to plague our Commonwealth. It’s long past time to bring them down and I’m proud to be a voice to do just that”.
The statue in his honor has been in Capitol Square since 1976.
The bill still has to pass in the Virginia Senate before going to Governor Ralph Northam’s desk for his signature.
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