© 2024
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

What the future holds for Richmond's former Confederate monuments

Jefferson Davis monument as displayed at the Valentine Museum in Richmond.
Mallory Noe-Payne
Jefferson Davis monument as displayed at the Valentine Museum in Richmond.

Richmond removed the last of its Confederate monuments earlier this year. Heading into 2023, here’s a look at what the future holds for all of the city’s statues now that they’ve come down.

The first monument to come down was pulled down by protestors. Now it’s displayed as it fell – on its side and splashed with pink paint.

“We are looking at the bronze statue of Jefferson Davis as it was pulled down in June of 2020,” describes Christina Vida, curator at the Valentine Museum. “I think you can still see the remnants of the toilet paper noose it was wearing.”

The Davis statue was pulled down during the night with a length of rope and a small sedan. On display today, Davis’ head is smashed in from the impact. The statue’s arm is torn open.

This former monument is the only one currently on display. The others are stored at Richmond’s wastewater treatment plant.

But next year the Davis statue, and some other Confederate relics from around the city, will go to L.A. on loan as part of a temporary exhibit.

All of the city’s statues are now owned by the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, says Vida, and the process of deciding their future may be a long one.

“These things take time. They took a lot of time to go up, it’s going to take a lot of time – and should be, right? Carefully considered. Thoughtfully considered. So that decisions aren’t rushed into,” she says.

The Black History Museum didn’t respond to our request for an interview, but the institution has opened up a survey where folks can give their input.

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

Mallory Noe-Payne is a Radio IQ reporter based in Richmond.