RICHMOND, Va. - The Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol unanimously voted Friday to recommend the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from the National Statuary Hall.
During a virtual meeting, the eight-member state commission heard testimony from Gov. Ralph Northam in favor of removing the statue.
The commission is charged with determining whether the Robert E. Lee statue should be replaced, and if so, recommending to the General Assembly a replacement to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia alongside George Washington in the United States Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection, where each state is entitled to two statues.
“The Robert E. Lee statue does not tell our full and true story, and it has never represented all Virginians," Northam said. “I commend the Commission’s righteous decision to remove this relic from the halls of Congress and replace it with a new statue that embodies the inclusive Commonwealth we aspire to be.”
Statues of George Washington and Robert E. Lee have stood as Virginia's contributions to the National Statuary Hall since 1909.
The commission will now begin work to recommend to the General Assembly a prominent Virginia citizen of historic renown or renowned for distinguished civil or military to be commemorated in National Statuary Hall Collection. The commission will also be required to select a sculptor for the new statue, with preference given to a sculptor from Virginia; estimate the costs associated with the replacement of the Robert E. Lee statue, including costs related to construction and placement of the new statue, for the removal and transfer of the Robert E. Lee statue, and for any unveiling ceremony of the new statue; and recommend to the General Assembly a suitable state, local, or private nonprofit history museum in the Commonwealth for placement of the Robert E. Lee statue.