A pair of Virginia Democrat lawmakers have asked Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to remove General Robert E. Lee’s statue from the U.S. Capitol next year.
“These statutes aimed to rewrite Lee’s reputation from that of a cruel slave owner and Confederate General to portraying him as a kind man and reluctant war hero who selflessly served his home state of Virginia,” wrote State Reps. A. Donald McEachin and Jennifer Wexton to Northam, according to the Hill. “As Virginians, we have a responsibility to not only learn from but also confront our history. As part of this responsibility, we must strive for a more complete telling of history by raising up the voices, stories, and memories of minorities and people of color.”
In their letter, the lawmakers suggested replacing the Virginia Confederate general for African American educator Booker T. Washington or civil rights activist Oliver Hill.
To remove Lee’s statue, the state’s General Assembly would have to approve a measure and Northam would need to sign it into law.
In April, a Virginia judge ruled that Charlottesville’s Confederate statues are monuments protected by state law.
The ruling came after a lawsuit filed against Charlottesville City Council members, who voted in 2017 to take down a statue of Lee.