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Albemarle Co. sets public hearing date, plans for future of Confederate statue

Updated: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:29 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County officials are working to address the county’s only Confederate statue.

A new state law went into effect Wednesday, July 1, that gives localities in Virginia the power to decide what happens to its monuments.

Members of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors discussed the “Johnny Reb” statue during their virtual meeting Wednesday. The statue of an unnamed Confederate soldier has been on courthouse grounds since 1909.

“Today we are initiating a conversation,” Supervisor Bea LaPisto Kirtley said. “A conversation about what we are to do regarding the statue, two cannons, and the stack of cannonballs on the grounds of the Albemarle County courthouse.”

In accordance with the new law, the county must make public notice of intent in a newspaper, as well as include the time and place of a public hearing. Then, after the hearing, the board will decide to remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover the monument. After that decision, the board has 30 days to offer the monument for relocation to a museum, government, historical society, or battlefield.

“I don’t think a war memorial or statue such as this should be in front of a courthouse,” Supervisor Donna Price said. “A courthouse represents justice for all.”

Before that decision can be made, a few members, including Price, discussed their thoughts. Others are waiting for the public hearing.

“As Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama marked the turning point toward the end of legalized segregation in America, the death of George Floyd - one of the countless Black Americans murdered simply for being Black - can we finally mark the opportunity for our nation to fully address the stain on the soul of America,” Price said.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. on August 6. For information on how you can sign up to share your thoughts, you can visit the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors’ website.

07/01/2020 Release from Albemarle County:

Today, July 1st, 2020, amendments to Virginia Code § 15.2-1812 take effect, authorizing localities to remove, relocate, or contextualize the monuments in their communities.

The Board of Supervisors took the first step in this process today, by scheduling a public hearing to receive public comment on its intent to remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover the following monuments or memorials for the veterans of war located on the county-owned portion of Court Square - the statue known as “At Ready”, cannons, and the stacked cannonballs.

The public hearing will be held on Thursday, August 6th at 6 pm. Due to restrictions related to COVID-19, this will be a virtual meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Full information about how to participate in a virtual public hearing will be posted on the Board of Supervisors’ webpage, www.albemarle.org/bos.

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