In the former capital of the Confederacy, the debate over statues is personal and painful

By | August 28, 2017

Mayor Levar Stoney stood under an awning on a blazing hot Monday, helping to break ground for a new wing at Richmond’s Civil War museum. Stoney was one of only a handful of African Americans at the ceremony, just two days after nearby Charlottesville had erupted in violence over a Confederate statue.

“In light of the events we’ve seen and experienced over the last week, I think we all can understand we’ve had trouble coming to grips with our history,” Stoney (D) said to the crowd, mostly wealthy white donors who had helped raise $25 million for the museum in this majority black city.

Normally bubbly, Stoney, 36, was having to force his good cheer on this day. The images of Charlottesville — white supremacists marching with torches, the beating of a young black man with poles, a car smashing into a crowd of counterprotesters and killing a young woman — had plagued his sleep through the weekend.

Until now, Stoney had told city residents that he would not considertaking down any of the grand memorials that define its public spaces. But speaking to the donors that day, Stoney was thinking that enough was enough. That if he could ask his late grandmother, she would say the statues are offensive. (Washington Post)

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