The monolith commemorates the mustering at the start of the Civil War of Alexandria citizens who marched south to join the Confederate forces. Black residents have long considered it an affront and a reminder that Alexandria sided with those who supported slavery. Defenders said it reminded the city of its Southern heritage.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy could not be immediately reached for comment.
The city, which has been trying to remove the statue from public property for years but was stymied by state law, sent the organization a letter several weeks ago asking for its removal after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill in April allowing localities to remove, relocate or contextualize Confederate monuments within their communities, starting July 1.
Wilson and council member John Taylor Chapman said that the Daughters planned a July removal, but recent events, including demonstrations and vandalism of Civil War statues in Richmond, caused them to accelerate their plans.
The organization has not told the city where the statue will be taken.
“I’m one of several electeds who have asked why do we need to keep this up?” Chapman said. “Our community has changed. My first thought is of all the folks who tried for years to take it down to no avail. This change did not happen without change in the [state legislature]. We as a community can get things done if we are persistent.”
“Part of the reaction to this statue has been about the way we told history in this city,” he said. “We’ve tried really hard in the past few years to tell both sides, with the acquisition of the Freedom House, the Black History Museum, the Edmondson Sisters statue and others. For a portion of our population, this statue was a symbol of an entire subjugation of a people. We still have a lot of work to do to ensure all of Alexandria’s history is told.”