McClellan Statement on Planned Removal of Confederate Monuments

Office of Senator Jennifer McClellan 
For Immediate Release:  June 4, 2020 


McClellan Statement on Planned Removal of Confederate Monuments

Today, Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), chair of Virginia’s Martin Luther King Jr. Commission, released the following statement regarding plans to remove Confederate monuments located in her Senate district in Richmond:

“130 years ago this week, the legendary publisher John Mitchell, Jr. shared his view of the new Robert E. Lee statue unveiled in Richmond in an editorial in the Richmond Planet. ‘What does this display of Confederate emblems mean?’ Mitchell asked. ‘[It] will ultimately result in handing down to a generation unborn a legacy of treason and blood. … It serves to reopen the wound of war and cause to drift further apart the two sections.’ The statue—like many others erected just after Reconstruction—was part of a ‘Lost Cause’ narrative and a backlash to the social, economic and political rise of the Black community. This was the beginning of a narrative that was used by some to put Blacks ‘back in their place.’ Others were put up in the 1950s as part of Massive Resistance for the same reasons. These monuments continue to cause pain and trigger trauma for my family and millions of Black families across America.

“Today’s announcement is an important step to begin the process of healing those wounds. If Virginia is ever going to heal from the trauma that began 400 years ago, we have to talk about and address it – and how it continues to fester today.  

“But it must not be the final step. 

“Just as important as addressing physical monuments, we must also address the systematic monuments to racial inequity. 

“A week after writing about the Lee statue, Mitchell decried maneuvers by Virginia ‘political tricksters’ to purge Black voters from the rolls. ‘This outrageous procedure will not be much longer tolerated by a liberty loving people,’ he wrote. 

“Today we must continue the process of removing barriers to voting and access to affordable health care and housing; close the education gap and break the school-to-prison pipeline; provide economic opportunity for all; advance environmental justice; and, make substantive criminal justice reforms.” 


Jennifer McClellan was elected to the Senate of Virginia in 2017 after serving 11 years in the House of Delegates. She has been a leader on strengthening public education and dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, criminal justice reform, combating domestic and sexual violence, and fighting discrimination of all kinds.

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