Board members of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) approved the removal in October, shortly after a story published in the Washington Post argued Black cadets “still endure relentless racism” at the military college.
VMI’s post-Civil War statue honoring notorious Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was plucked from its acropodium in Lexington, Virginia, around 9:45 a.m. local time on Monday.
The Board of Visitors at VMI, the oldest state-supported military college in the US, announced in late October that the statue celebrating Jackson would be leaving the campus – nearly 110 years after it was unveiled by sculptor Moses Ezekiel.
Ezekiel was a veteran of the Battle of New Market before making history as VMI’s first Jewish cadet.
“VMI, like all aspects of society, must honestly address historical inequities and be intentional about creating a better future. We care deeply about the individual experiences of all of our cadets and alumni,” said Board of Visitors President John William “Bill” Boland in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
Shapira emphasized that Jackson was more than just a professor at the military college – he was also an “enslaver of six people.”
“They were asking us to commemorate people on the wrong side of history and to celebrate people who wanted African Americans in bondage, raped and enslaved,” argued VMI alumna Carroll Foy, who is also Black.