CHARLESTON, W.Va. – On Friday, a coalition of organizations called on the Capitol Building Commission to immediately begin the process of removing the statue of Stonewall Jackson from the West Virginia Capitol grounds.
This is according to a release from the The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia (ACLU-WV). The letter states the statue should be removed due to Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson being a Confederate general and a slaveholder.
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. The release stated that when reporters asked commission members why this was the case, officials responded that they had received no formal request to do so.
ACLU-WV said their letter to the Capitol Building Commission is being asked to be considered a formal request.
The release stated that many statues, plaques and honorary names of Confederate officials and slaveowners have been removed across the country in recent weeks. Additionally, the release stated that the Kanawha County School Board unanimously voted to remove Jackson’s name from West Virginia’s most racially diverse middle school, while Charleston officials removed a plaque honoring the 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.
To read the letter in its entirety, click here.