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State panel recommends removal of Virginia Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol

State panel recommends removal of Virginia Robert E. Lee statue from US Capitol
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Virginia’s Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol on Friday voted unanimously to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol.

The eight-member panel voted to replace Lee with another, to be determined Virginian, The Associated Press reported. Each state has two statues in the Statuary Hall Collection, with George Washington being Virginia’s second.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) vowed to request the immediate removal of the statue by the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress following the vote, according to the AP.

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“The Robert E. Lee statue does not tell our full and true story, and it has never represented all Virginians,” Northam said in a statement after the vote. “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.”

The decision comes after the House of Representatives voted last week to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol, with the Senate yet to vote on the measure. However, Virginia’s General Assembly has the power to act on the panel’s recommendation regardless of whether the measure passes Congress, according to the AP.

Other Confederate statues in the building include Arkansas’ Uriah Milton Rose and Georgia’s Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the Confederacy who made the notorious “Cornerstone Speech” explicitly declaring the Confederacy was founded on white supremacy.

Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D) last week had both a statue of Lee and busts of other Confederate generals removed from Richmond’s Old House Chamber, while Northam has ordered removal of the Lee statue on the city’s Monument Avenue, the street’s only statue on state-owned land.

Although the Lee statue’s removal is tied up in litigation, several city-owned statues, including those of Stonewall Jackson, J.E.B. Stuart and Confederate Naval official Matthew Maury has been removed, while protesters toppled the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.