Norfolk and Portsmouth mayors, Virginia governor in favor of relocating Confederate monuments

Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 14:55:13-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Mayor Alexander said Wednesday he will make a recommendation to City Council that they move the Confederate memorial on Main Street to a more suitable location to honor the Confederate war dead.

This is based on if council makes the decision to remove the monument.

He said times have changed and a cemetery where the war dead are resting may be the best place to honor them.  Mayor Alexander also said this is a suggestion and he will discuss this with council and the body will make the final decision.

This news comes after Norfolk City Council received many requests to remove the monument in 2015. The topic was discussed at a retreat and council decided to keep the monument because of its "historic value," the mayor said in a letter. He said with last weekend's tragic events in Charlottesville that requests to remove the monument had been renewed.

Mayor Alexander said it is appropriate to re-examine the matter.

Full Coverage: Protests and violence in Charlottesville

Governor Terry McAuliffe appeared to be on the same page as Alexander, saying he encourages Virginia's localities and the General Assembly to take down the monuments and "relocate them to museums or more appropriate settings."

He released the following statement Wednesday about Confederate monuments in Virginia:

“The discussion regarding whether to relocate Confederate statues is an important and legitimate conversation that should take place in each community that contains one. Monuments should serve as unifiers, to inspire us collectively and to venerate our greatest citizens. Unfortunately, the recent events in Charlottesville demonstrate that monuments celebrating the leadership of the Confederacy have become flashpoints for hatred, division and violence.

“As we attempt to heal and learn from the tragic events in Charlottesville, I encourage Virginia's localities and the General Assembly – which are vested with the legal authority –  to take down these monuments and relocate them to museums or more appropriate settings. I hope we can all now agree that these symbols are a barrier to progress, inclusion and equality in Virginia and, while the decision may not be mine to make, I believe the path forward is clear.”

Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe also shared a similar sentiment and called for the High Street Confederate monument to be moved to Cedar Grove cemetery Thursday afternoon. He called for the demonstration scheduled for Thursday evening to be peaceful.

Wednesday the local Black Lives Matter chapter announced a demonstration at the Main Street Confederate monument.

The group met at the monument at 4 p.m. for a 'peaceful demonstration.' Norfolk Police was in attendance for security. A Subway Restaurant in the area said they closed around 12 p.m. to ensure employee safety.

Click here  to read Mayor Alexander's entire letter.

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