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BREAKING: Speaker Filler-Corn Announces Robert E. Lee Statue, Confederate Busts Removed from Old House Chamber of Virginia State Capitol

"Speaker also creates Advisory Group to study further possible action on historical artifacts in State Capitol"

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Great work by Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn!

Speaker Filler-Corn Announces Robert E. Lee Statue, Confederate Busts Removed from Old House Chamber of Virginia State Capitol

Speaker also creates Advisory Group to study further possible action on historical artifacts in State Capitol

RICHMOND—Eileen Filler-Corn, Speaker of the House of Delegates, today announced 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 last evening and was completed this morning.

The Old House Chamber, and any artifacts therein, are under the authority of the House of Delegates.

Under 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 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.”

 

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1Object: Bust of Confederate General James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, 1866 (1872.1). Marble.

Dimensions: Statue: 26 1/2 × 24 × 12 1/2 in. (67.3 × 61 × 31.8 cm); Base: 4 × 14 × 14 in. (10.2 × 35.6 × 35.6 cm); Pedestal: 6 1/8 × 9 1/2 in. (15.6 × 24.1 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Gift to the state from private individual (William Stuart) in 1872.

2. Object: Statue of Confederate Robert E. Lee taking command of the Army of Virginia, 1931 (1932.3). Bronze.

Dimensions: Statue: 76 1/4 × 32 × 25 1/2 in., 900 lb. (193.7 × 81.3 × 64.8 cm, 408.2 kg); Base: 22 1/2 × 40 × 34 in. (57.2 × 101.6 × 86.4 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: “No. 53 House bill to authorize the Governor to solicit subscriptions for a fund to provide for the erection of a statue of General Robert Edward Lee in the State Capitol, to contract with a sculptor to create the same, to expend the funds collected and to do all things necessary or proper to secure the erection of such statue, and to report his actions hereunder to the General Assembly.” Approved February 20, 1928. Sponsored by then Governor Harry Flood Byrd. Ultimately paid for by State appropriation ($10,000), public subscription ($7,000), and a gift-in-kind from the sculptor ($8,000).

3. Object: Bust of Confederate Admiral Matthew Fontaine Maury (1932.9). Bronze.

Dimensions: Statue: 24 1/2 × 14 1/2 × 11 in. (62.2 × 36.8 × 27.9 cm); Base: 3 × 14 7/8 × 14 7/8 in. (7.6 × 37.8 × 37.8 cm)

Legal/Acquisition:  Gift to the state by a private individual (Alice Maury Parmelee) in 1932. The process, which was similar for later additions, was to have the state authorize and ultimately commission the work, but have a family member pay for the work.

4. Object: Bust of Confederate General Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1933.1). Bronze.

Dimensions: Statue: 26 × 17 1/2 × 10 1/2 in. (66 × 44.5 × 26.7 cm); Base: 4 3/4 × 15 × 14 5/8 in. (12.1 × 38.1 × 37.1 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Gift to the state by private individuals (Robert M. Hughes, et al.). Authorized by Act of Assembly, 22 March 1932, “That the governor, by and with the approval of the art commission, may receive gifts of busts or other memorials of the following great Virginians […] Joseph E. Johnston.” The piece was commissioned by the state, but the costs were borne by the donors.

5. Object: Bust of Confederate President Jefferson Davis (1952.3). Marble.

Dimensions: Statue: 34 × 26 × 14 1/2 in. (86.4 × 66 × 36.8 cm); Base: 12 1/2 × 29 × 14 in. (31.8 × 73.7 × 35.6 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Gift from the State of Mississippi to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Authorized by Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 15 February 1934. The United Daughters of the Confederacy shepherded the project forward and provided several thousand dollars to Mississippi’s Department of Archives and History for the bust.

6. Object: Bust of Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens (1953.1). Marble.

Dimensions: Statue: 35 × 27 × 15 in. (88.9 × 68.6 × 38.1 cm); Base: 12 1/2 × 29 × 14 in. (31.8 × 73.7 × 35.6 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Gift from the State of Georgia to the Commonwealth of Virginia. Authorized by Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 15 February 1934.

7. Object: Bust of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson (1958.1). Bronze.

Dimensions: Statue: 34 × 24 × 12 1/2 in. (86.4 × 61 × 31.8 cm); Base: 5 × 14 × 14 in. (12.7 × 35.6 × 35.6 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Authorized by Act of Assembly, 22 March 1932, “That the governor, by and with the approval of the art commission, may receive gifts of busts or other memorials of the following great Virginians […] Stonewall Jackson […].” The piece was commissioned by the state, but was a gift from the Virginia Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy

8. Object: Bust of Confederate General and Virginia Governor Fitzhugh Lee (1908.3). Marble.

Dimensions: Statue: 24 1/2 × 27 × 15 1/2 in. (62.2 × 68.6 × 39.4 cm); Pedestal: 5 × 10 in. (12.7 × 25.4 cm); Base: 4 × 14 × 14 in. (10.2 × 35.6 × 35.6 cm)

Legal/Acquisition: Purchased by the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1908

9. Plaque for Confederate States of America Speaker Thomas Bocock