Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has agreed to take down the 40-foot granite pedestal that once supported the titanic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and became the heart of last year’s social justice protests.
Once the iconic, graffiti-covered plinth is gone — which is expected by the end of the month — the state will transfer ownership of the surrounding traffic circle to the city of Richmond, officials said Sunday.
The deal takes the circle out of the state’s hands a few short weeks before Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) takes office on Jan. 15. A spokesman for Youngkin has said he supported the statue’s removal but lamented the graffiti on the stone pedestal.
The pedestal will be preserved and put into storage by the state until a more permanent destination can be worked out, said Alena Yarmosky, a spokeswoman for Northam (D).
“Obviously the pedestal means a lot to a lot of people,” Yarmosky said. “The commonwealth is going to work with different folks — likely historians, the Department of Historic Resources — to figure out where it’s going to be put.”