Virginia review board unanimously OKs removal of Lee statue in downtown Richmond

A Virginia state board unanimously approved the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from downtown Richmond as debate rages across the country over Confederate monuments.

The plan still hinges on a court’s review of Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) power to remove the monument, though aides to Northam have said he’s determined to remove the statue.

"The governor is committed to the removal of this statue," Joe Damico, director of the Virginia Department of General Services, told the Art and Architectural Review Board on Friday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. "From my perspective, as soon as the lawsuit is settled and the way is clear, we will work very quickly to remove the statue from the pedestal."

Northam’s plan has been approved by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, though the department recommended the state discuss the statue’s removal with the National Register of Historic Places at the National Park Service regarding its status as a national historic landmark.

The statue in Richmond has been the focus of a series of protests as the country grapples with its legacy of racism after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody in May.