Eileen Filler-Corn, Speaker of the House of Delegates, announced on Friday morning that the Robert E. Lee Statue and busts of those who participated in the Confederacy have been removed from the Old House Chamber of the Virginia State Capitol.
Removal of the Lee Statue and Confederate busts began Thursday night and was completed on Friday morning. According to Filler-Corn’s office, the Old House Chamber, and any artifacts therein, are under the authority of the House of Delegates.
Using the authority given by the Constitution of Virginia and the Rules of the House, Speaker Filler-Corn directed Clerk Suzette Denslow to remove the Confederate artifacts from the Old House Chamber. The removal of the Confederate artifacts was supervised by a professional conservator to ensure their appropriate movement.
In addition to removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee, artifacts recognizing the following persons who participated in the Confederacy were removed from the Old House Chamber:
- Joseph E. Johnston
- Fitzhugh Lee
- Alexander H. Stephens
- Thomas Bocock
- Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson
- James E.B. “Jeb” Stuart
- Jefferson F. Davis
- Matthew F. Maury
Additionally, the Speaker announced on Friday that she has asked Delegate Delores McQuinn of Richmond to chair the newly-formed Speaker’s Advisory Group on State Capitol Artifacts to look at items under House Control. The Group will advise the Speaker on possible future actions related to State Capitol historical artifacts under House control.
“Virginia has a story to tell that extends far beyond glorifying the Confederacy and its participants. The Confederacy’s primary objective in the Civil War was to preserve an ideology that maintained the enslavement of human beings,” said Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn. “Now is the time to provide context to our Capitol to truly tell the Commonwealth’s whole history. I look forward to Delegate McQuinn and the Advisory Group on State Capitol Artifacts to work to ensure our Capitol reflects the broad experience of all Virginians.”
This Speaker’s Advisory Group on State Capitol Artifacts, which will be made up of a bipartisan group of House members, historians and community leaders from across the Commonwealth who will meet and provide analysis to the Speaker on:
- Possible further actions on House-controlled artifacts in the Capitol
- The erection of additional historic artifacts and historic context in the House-controlled areas of the Capitol
- What will be done long-term with the Confederate artifacts removed today from the Old House Chamber
“The artifacts at the Capitol are a painful reminder of the deep-rooted wounds of slavery and 401 years of oppression. These Confederate artifacts are constant reminders of individuals who had no intentions of guaranteeing justice, equality and equity for all,” said Delegate Delores McQuinn. “I am proud of Speaker Filler-Corn for taking this action to not only remove these hateful symbols, but also create a process to make sure our State Capitol reflect our ideals. I am honored she has chosen me to chair the Speaker’s Advisory Group on State Capitol Artifacts and help our Commonwealth create a more inclusive State Capitol.”