Shenandoah Valley Battlefields officials weigh in on Norfolk Confederate monument decision

Posted at 9:05 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 22:30:08-04

NORFOLK, Va. - At a public hearing Tuesday, Norfolk city leaders voted in support of an ordinance to move a Confederate monument that once stood in downtown to Elmwood Cemetery.

“This council has made it very clear that we would do everything in our power to have that monument stay here in Norfolk,” Mayor Kenny Alexander told News 3 Tuesday.

Following the hearing, Alexander said the city has 30 days to entertain offers to accept the monument before taking any further action.

Before the decision, people from around Hampton Roads spoke in favor of having the monument moved to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields.

“The statues honor my family and my ancestors,” Wendy Hayzlett of Hampton said Tuesday night. “They honor a mother's son, a sister's brother and a daughter's father.”

“If we get it all out to the Shenandoah Valley, that would cause a lot less conflict in this whole state [and] in this whole town,” Tammy Hugate of Norfolk added.

During the meeting, City Manager Chip Filer said nothing formal had been received from the battlefields about the monument.

“It doesn't surprise me that someone would bring up our name as a possible location for these monuments, or this particular monument to be moved,” Keven Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) said Wednesday. “We are open to the idea of monuments coming to our landscape, as long as they're enhancing the interpretation of the site.”

Walker told News 3 their group has a specific monument policy, which doesn't allow the group to reach out about monuments.

“We're not interested in becoming just a general repository for monuments, being them Confederate, or federal, or civilian or otherwise,” Walker said. “Our monuments policy is relatively clear in that we will entertain proposals or offers or conversations, but we will not seek them out.”

Walker said they're available as a resource for communities.

He told News 3 he supports the idea of moving the Norfolk Confederate monument to Elmwood Cemetery. He believes monuments should be displayed in their entirety in locations where people can visit them.

“They're put in a place that is deemed to be socially acceptable in this modern age, but yet they can still be a place of remembrance and commemoration,” he said.

News 3 reached out to City of Norfolk officials Wednesday. They said the city hasn't reached out to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and hasn’t received anything formal from anyone about the Confederate monument.

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