Group holds protest at Newport News Confederate monument

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Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 23:50:30-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A few dozen gathered at the Confederate Monument on Friday evening calling for its removal.

The Greater Hilton for Social Justice group held the rally in an effort to call for its removal from the Denbigh site by the Old Warwick Courthouse. Two city council members spoke at the event and said a majority is in favor of moving it, but the process will take likely until October.

"This is a monument not to the soldiers who fought, but to segregation and the lost cause, which is not true history," said Councilman Dave Jenkins.

"You can't change systematically, unless we start understanding and giving symbols that are going to offer more hope to our people," said Councilman B2 Harris.

Currently, the monument is under tarp following protests at other monuments, including in Portsmouth, where a man was injured when part of the monument fell onto him.

While the monument is owned by the City of Newport News, the land is under a State Easement Agreement through the Department of Historic Resources, which requires the city to get permission from the State Board of Historic Resources before making any changes on the site.

The City Council is moving forward with discussions on deciding what to do with the monument. They will likely hold a public hearing in August, according to a city spokesperson.

"It's time for monuments to the Confederacy to come down. They serve no purpose historically. If you want to learn about it, it's in all the history books," said Cary Eppes, one of the organizers.

Not everyone agrees. Council member Pat Woodbury doesn't want it removed, but favors adding other memorials or statues to it, including of local leaders. "But the point is that there are those we can memorialize and show progress we can be proud of by adding to existing symbols of our past, not destroying them," she wrote.

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