Former Virginia Governor Removes Segregationist’s Statue From Capitol Square

RICHMOND, Va. — On Wednesday morning, workers demolished a monument of Harry F. Byrd Sr., a former Virginia governor, US senator, and strong segregationist, from the state’s Capitol Square.

Workers used a crane to lift the larger-than-life monument off its pedestal, then fastened it to a truck and put it into storage until politicians decide what to do with it.

Byrd, a Democrat, was the architect of the state’s racist “massive resistance” program against public school integration and oversaw the state’s most powerful political machine for decades until his death in 1966.

The statue was removed by lawmakers earlier this year, after a years-long campaign in history-rich Virginia to reconsider who is honoured in public areas.

The 1976 monument was built in Richmond, just a short distance from the Capitol. The statue was erected in honour of Byrd’s “devotion over a lengthy public career to governmental restraint and initiatives in the best interests of all the people of Virginia,” according to an adjacent plaque.

Byrd’s son, Harry Byrd Jr., a Democrat-turned-independent who began his political career as a segregationist, followed his father in the Senate and served until 1983.

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