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Contextualizing Confederate Monuments

On Wednesday, November 14th, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors was presented with a petition signed by nearly 600 citizens demanding the removal of the Confederate statue in front of the county courthouse. The 1909 monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy during their campaign to rewrite Civil War history by promoting the "Lost Cause" narrative.

The placement of this statue in front of the courthouse is particularly offensive because it valorizes the racist ideology of the Confederacy and undermines the principle of equal justice under the law.

Virginia law prohibits localities from removing, disturbing or interfering with Confederate monuments. However, County Attorney Greg Kamptner believes there may be some leeway to "contextualize" Confederate statues by providing additional information about their history. Petitioners maintain that contextualizing symbols of white supremacy is not sufficient. The Board of Supervisors will resume discussion about the monument in their December 4th meeting and decide whether to include it in their legislative priorities shared with the Virginia General Assembly.

The Kudzu Project visited this statue today to offer some "contextualization" and, while the installation was quickly removed by police and fire personnel, a photo remains in the Rogues Gallery on our website.

Citizens who oppose Confederate statues, particularly ones that stand in front of courthouses throughout Virginia, can make their voices heard by signing the petition, showing up at Board of Supervisors meetings, and most importantly, voting in the 2019 state elections when the fate of each of Virginia's 140 House and Senate seats will be determined. We can change the outdated Code of Virginia with a Democratic majority in the General Assembly!

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