RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Hundreds gathered by the Stonewall Jackson monument at the intersection of Monument Avenue and Arthur Ashe Boulevard on Wednesday afternoon to witness its removal.
Much of the crowd told NBC12 they were happy to see it happen, one woman even saying she rushed down because her ancestors were slaves and wanted to witness this in their honor.
“I’m here for my great-grandfather who was a slave. I’m here for my grandfather and my great-great-grandfather. I’ve done all of my genealogical history, so I decided to be out here for them today,” said Jennifer Simmons.
“I don’t think it’s going to solve all the issues in our city or in our nation, but it’s a huge, monumental day. I think just seeing the start of this process is amazing and it gives me a lot of hope in our city,” said Lindsey Dombert.
Others pointed out the diversity among the very united crowd.
“We have a bunch of people out here; brothers and sisters that don’t look like me. And they’re making a difference. It’s finally mainstream, people are able to see it and that it’s time to do something,” said David Randolph.
But not everyone attending was for the removal. One man cited economic reasons for keeping the statue in place, saying that the statues are a big moneymaker for the city.
“Tourism is a big business in Richmond, and most people that come here come for the Civil War,” said the man, who wanted to go by ‘Bob.‘ “So is our new motto going to be ‘Come to Richmond and see our empty pedestals?‘”
“It’s a disappointing day for America and it’s a disappointing day for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Andrew Morehead with Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Morehead says his organization would be more than glad to take these statues from the city’s hands.
“These monuments must be on private property where they will be maintained, in perpetuity, respected, protected, revered as they deserve because it’s obvious the public sector does not want them,” Morehead said.
While the majority of the crowd remained on a joyous mood before and after the statue’s removal, some add that the work still isn’t over.
“We got other things we’re looking forward to, to make this city more on the more racially equal basis,” said Eli Swann.
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