McEachin-Wexton Joint Statement on the Removal of Robert E. Lee Statue from U.S. Capitol
Washington, December 21, 2020
In response to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue from the U.S. Capitol crypt earlier this morning, U.S. Representatives Donald McEachin and Jennifer Wexton released the following statement:
“This is a historic and long-overdue moment for our Commonwealth.
“The Robert E. Lee statue honors a legacy of division, oppression, and racism -- a dark period in the history of our Commonwealth and our country. There is no reason his statue should be one of the two representing Virginia in the U.S. Capitol.
“We are proud to have led the effort in the House of Representatives to replace Lee’s statue. It is thanks to Virginians across the Commonwealth who have stood up to demand a change that we will now have a figure who truly represents Virginia’s values in the U.S. Capitol.”
Rep. Wexton, Senator Tim Kaine, and a representative from Rep. McEachin's office attended the removal of the statue, which was conducted in the crypt of the Capitol by staff from the Architect of the Capitol. The statue will be placed in the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.
In December 2019, McEachin and Wexton called on Governor Northam and Virginia General Assembly leaders to replace the statue, asking them to consider “what monuments we can add to acknowledge the horrors of slavery, expose the injustices of institutional racism, and honor those who dedicated their lives to fighting for equality.”
Legislation passed the General Assembly this year to establish the Commission for Historical Statues in the U.S. Capitol. The Commission was tasked with studying the removal and replacement of the Robert E. Lee statue. The Commission recently selected Barbara Johns as a replacement. That recommendation must be approved by the General Assembly during the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session.
Images of the statue removal can be found here and should be accompanied by the attribution to Jack Mayer, Office of Governor Northam.