Library Website Documents Story of City’s Statue Debate
Researchers who want to learn more about the history and ongoing dispute over Charlottesville’s Confederate statues can utilize a new website presented by the University of Virginia School of Law.
The Arthur J. Morris Law Library has created the Charlottesville Statues Legal History Research Guide. The website offers a growing list of resources, including litigation documents, municipal records, digitized texts and archival collections related to the city’s Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson statues and their respective parks.
The Lee and Jackson statues were commissioned by philanthropist Paul Goodloe McIntire and donated to the city of Charlottesville in the 1920s.
The city’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces in 2016 recommended relocating the Lee statue to McIntire Park and keeping but contextualizing the Jackson statue as part of a broader re-evaluation of Charlottesville’s racial history. The Charlottesville City Council instead voted to sell the Lee statue, as well as rename Lee and Jackson parks Emancipation and Justice parks, respectively.
A state judge, citing a Virginia law that protects war monuments, has halted that plan as a lawsuit makes its way through the courts. The proposed removal of the statue was an impetus for the “Unite the Right” protests in August 2017.
The website’s records include docket files in the lawsuit, the commission’s report and City Council minutes. More documents will be added as the legal challenges continue.