Virginia removes statue of segregationist from Capitol Square
The state of Virginia has removed a statue of former Gov. Harry Byrd Sr. (D), a segregationist, from its Capitol Square.
Video shared to Twitter by the Richmond Free Press showed a crane lifting the statue from the Capitol grounds on Wednesday.
The Dept. of General Services @DGSvirginia removes the statue of Archsegregationist , former Va. Governor and Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. from the State Capitol grounds this morning where it has stood since 1976. #massiveresistance #archsegregationist #VA @jonesjay @GovernorVA pic.twitter.com/PdaihVerMf
— Richmond Free Press (@FreePressRVA) July 7, 2021
Earlier this year, Virginia lawmakers voted to remove the statue of Byrd.
Byrd was an integral part of Virginia politics for most of his life and, in addition to his stint as governor, served as a U.S. senator and a state Democratic Party leader.
However, Byrd was also a staunch segregationist, known in the state for being an architect of the state’s racist “massive resistance” policy to public school integration. Byrd’s son, Harry Byrd Jr., succeeded his father in the state Senate, serving until 1983, according to The Associated Press.
A statue of the lawmaker was placed in the state’s Capitol Square in 1976, and a plaque nearby described Byrd’s work as “devotion throughout a long public career to governmental restraint and programs in the best interest of all the people of Virginia,” the AP reported.
The newswire noted that workers strapped the statue onto a truck to be taken to a storage facility, where it will remain until lawmakers can decide what to do with it next.
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