CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A diverse coalition of organizations today called on the Capitol Building Commission to immediately begin the process of removing the statue of Confederate general and slaveholder Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from the West Virginia Capitol grounds.
In a letter to the Commission, its chair Randall Reid-Smith, and Gov. Jim Justice, the coalition references reports that the Commission recently met but did not discuss the statue. When reporters asked commission members why, officials responded that they had received no formal request to do so.
The coalition asks that its letter be considered a formal request.
Statues, plaques, and honorary names of Confederate officials and slaveowners have been removed across the country in recent weeks as the nation reckons with its long history of white supremacy. Here in West Virginia, the Kanawha County School Board voted unanimously to remove Jackson’s name from West Virginia’s most racially diverse middle school while Charleston officials removed a racist plaque honoring the so-called Kanawha Riflemen, a pro-confederate militia during the Civil War.
“Governors in other states — including Kentucky and North Carolina —have recognized that ‘[m]onuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it’s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way,’” the letter states. “It may be a small step toward achieving racial justice, but it is a necessary one, Governor Justice.”
The coalition includes: Call to Action for Racial Equality (CARE) Coalition, State of WV NAACP, NAACP of Charleston, Morgantown/Kingwood Branch of the NAACP, Race Matters in West Virginia, Race Matters in Greenbrier Valley, Black Lives Matter: West Virginia, Our Future WV, WVU Black Law Students Association, Keep Us Safe WV, ACLU-WV, ACLU at WVU Law, Democratic Law Caucus at WVU Law, Hispanic Law Student Association at WVU Law, Asian Pacific Law Student Association at WVU Law, OUTlaw at WVU Law, Fairness WV, American Friends Service Committee – WV, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, Mountain State Justice, Inc., National Association of Social Workers, West Virginia Chapter, National Organization of Women—WV Chapter, The Partnership for Furthering Arts and Education, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, Summers County Huddle, WVU Labor Law Society, West Virginia Employment Lawyers - Student Chapter, WV Free, and WV Working Families Party.