A.P. Hill statue removed in Richmond, remains still beneath pedestal
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A new chapter of Richmond history is in motion as the city’s final standing confederate statue comes down.
The removal of the A.P. Hill statue in the city’s Northside took place on Monday morning.
Watch as the statue was removed:
The statue has been located at the intersection of Laburnum Avenue and Hermitage Road for over a century.
It was the last Confederate statue owned by the city to be removed. It was a tedious process for the crew and emotional for everyone watching history unfold, no matter their views on the controversy.
The confederacy has been a big part of Richmond’s identity for so long, but now the city is officially devoid of the monuments, redefining itself.
“It should be in a museum, not out here to where people can feel oppressed, people can feel less-than,” Richmonder Pop Holmes said. “They are symbols of white supremacy, so I’m glad they’re being removed.”
Many people who championed the removal of the statues are celebrating today. Meanwhile, the descendants of A.P. Hill are somber.
“It’s been heart-wrenching, it’s been upsetting, it’s been ugly,” A.P. Hill descendant Laszlo Balint said. “We wouldn’t want anybody’s grave desecrated.”
The trickiest part of the removal is the fact that Hill’s remains lay beneath the pedestal.
The statue itself was lifted off with a crane, then carted away by a tractor-trailer.
Crews spent the afternoon disassembling the concrete pedestal and digging into the vault to find AP Hill’s remains. A contractor told NBC12 they did not find the remains by day’s end, but plan to be back at the site at 9 a.m. Tuesday to continue the work.
“It’s been devastating because that is my family name up there, that’s our headstone so we don’t want the city to have possession of it and destroy it,” A.P. Hill descendant John Hill said. “We wanted his remains to be moved with the headstone so they didn’t have to be disturbed.”
The statue is set to go to the Black History Museum, which has previously removed confederate monuments.
That is despite a legal challenge from some of Hill’s descendants who want to keep his headstone.
“A.P. Hill, I have census documents, he never owned any slaves,” John Hill said.
Meanwhile, neighbors in the city’s Northside say they have good reason to be excited. That reason is safety.
“This has always been one of the worst intersections and having lived on this street, you hear accidents here all the time,” Northside neighbor Genesis Chapman said. “I avoid the intersection because of that. Mostly, it’s just great to see Richmond finally making a change for the good.”
The intersection will stay closed while the removal process continues Tuesday, Dec. 13.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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