On Wednesday, state officials presented ‘The Emancipation and Freedom Monument’ in honor of African Americans in the state who fought for freedom before and after emancipation. The new monument to Virginia’s African Americans was unveiled in Richmond just two miles from the site of the bronze statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee that was taken down after Black Lives Matter protests.
Designed by Oregon sculptor Thomas Jay Warren, the monument features two 12-foot bronze statues of newly freed slaves. One statue depicts a woman cradling a baby in one arm while holding up a document in her other hand that displays the date January 1, 1863, the date president Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in the United States.
A few feet away is another statue of a man with scars on his back, arms outstretched and shackles at his feet. “The enslaved built this city with their hands,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said at the ceremony. “We will rebuild this city with our hearts.”
The statues were unveiled just weeks after the 21-foot statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from its pedestal. At the unveiling, Governor Ralph Northam told the audience that removing the Lee statue was one of his proudest moments and that the new emancipation monument is more representative of Virginia and it’s future, WTVR.com reported.
“They’re symbols of a Virginia that’s reckoning with ugliness and inequality,” Northam said. “A Virginia that’s taking a deep hard look into what we need to do better and how to get there, a Virginia that tells the truth of our past so we can build a better future together.” He added that he hopes the statues will serve as a symbol of hope for future generations.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN
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