Statue of Confederate General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson is removed from Virginia Military Institute at a cost of $209,000

 A statue of confederate general Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson has been removed from one of the US's oldest military colleges after allegations of systemic racism prompted an independent investigation.   

The Virginia Military Institute (VMI), in Lexington, removed the prominent bronze effigy of the anti-abolitionist, slave-owner graduate on Monday morning using cranes and in front of a small crowd of on-lookers. 

It will be re-located to the Virginia Museum of the Civil War and New Market Battlefield Historical Park, at a cost of $209,000, funded by the school's facility maintenance and operations account.

The move follows a vote by the board in October after the school was rocked by allegations of institutional racism including lynching threats, a white professor reminiscing in class about her father's Ku Klux Klan membership and a general 'atmosphere of hostility and cultural insensitivity', following an investigation by The Washington Post. 

Gov. Ralph Northam later launched an investigation. 

The statue's removal is the latest in a series featuring Jackson, and other Confederate leaders, being taken down across the country in the last few years.

Many people believe the statues are symbols of racism and white supremacy and should be removed from public spaces.   


The statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (pictured in 2015) stood at the entrance to the barracks at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. It was removed on December 7 after allegations of systemic racism were made about the school in October

The statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson (pictured in 2015) stood at the entrance to the barracks at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia. It was removed on December 7 after allegations of systemic racism were made about the school in October

Crews prepare to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson from the campus of the Virginia Military Institute on December 7, 2020, in Lexington, Virginia

Crews prepare to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson from the campus of the Virginia Military Institute on December 7, 2020, in Lexington, Virginia

Cranes were used to remove the bronze statue of Confederate general 'Stonewall' Jackson from the campus of the Virginia Military Institute

Cranes were used to remove the bronze statue of Confederate general 'Stonewall' Jackson from the campus of the Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute cadet Mark C. Coon, pictured in 1990, taking an oath joining the U.S. Army Reserves in front of the statue of Confederate general Jackson at the VMI barracks. The practice of some students saluting the statue was ended several years ago

Virginia Military Institute cadet Mark C. Coon, pictured in 1990, taking an oath joining the U.S. Army Reserves in front of the statue of Confederate general Jackson at the VMI barracks. The practice of some students saluting the statue was ended several years ago

Founded in 1839, VMI is one of the oldest state-supported military colleges in the US.

Along with the statue, the school also has Jackson Memorial Hall, named in honor of its former graduate and professor, as well as multiple other Confederate leaders. 

Jackson, who died in 1863, is one of the best known Confederate generals, after General Robert E. Lee, and won many key battles, with multiple statues, schools and towns named after him across the US. 

But, like many Confederate leaders, he was also staunchly anti-abolitionist and owned multiple slaves.  

Change was slow to come to VMI.

In the 1990s, the school, which is public, spent six years and millions of dollars in a high-profile fight against federal efforts to force it to admit women.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that if the school accepts tax money it must accept women.

Its board voted 9-8 to accept women rather than go private and stay all-male, ending VMI´s long quest to be the last state-supported college to exclude women.  

The VMI statue had also been a subject of controversy for years.


Following George Floyd´s killing in Minneapolis in May, a wave of Confederate monuments began to be removed around the US following protests by Black Lives Matter activists, prompting some VMI students and graduates to call for the statue's removal.

In July the Jackson statue on Commonwealth Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, was taken down, as well as multiple busts of general Robert E. Lee in the Virginia Sate Capitol in Richmond, after the mayor pledged to remove Confederate effigies from public spaces. 

But the VMI school had initially committed to keeping their Jackson statue in place.   

At the time VMI´s superintendent, retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III said in July that the school would change some of its longstanding traditions, such as relocating an oath ceremony from the Civil War battlefield.

But he said it would not remove the statue of Jackson or rethink the names of buildings honoring Confederate leaders.

'Unlike many communities who are grappling with icons of the past, VMI has direct ties to many of the historical figures that are the subject of the current unrest. Stonewall Jackson was a professor at VMI, a West Point graduate who served in combat in the Mexican War, a military genius, a staunch Christian, and yes, a Confederate General,' Peay wrote in July.  

In October, following the allegations of racism at the school Peay was ousted and the board voted to remove the statue. 

State officials later committed to hiring an outside firm to investigate the students´ allegations.

In November Retired Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins, a 1985 VMI graduate, became the first black interim superintendent of the school.  

Virginia House Speaker removes confederate statues
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People watch as the Stonewall Jackson statue is removed from Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia on July 1, 2020, after the city's mayor ordered the 'immediate removal' of Confederate monuments

People watch as the Stonewall Jackson statue is removed from Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia on July 1, 2020, after the city's mayor ordered the 'immediate removal' of Confederate monuments

Protestors play chess as they gather around the statue of American-Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, on July 1, 2020, after workers earlier took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson.

Protestors play chess as they gather around the statue of American-Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, on July 1, 2020, after workers earlier took down a statue of Stonewall Jackson.

Workmen place plywood beside the statue of Robert E. Lee in the Old House Chamber inside the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, on July 23, 2020. All busts and plaques relating to the Confederacy were removed

Workmen place plywood beside the statue of Robert E. Lee in the Old House Chamber inside the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia, on July 23, 2020. All busts and plaques relating to the Confederacy were removed

In November U.S. Army major general Cedric T. Wins became the first black leader of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) after being selected as interim superintendent following the ousting of previous leader retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III

In November U.S. Army major general Cedric T. Wins became the first black leader of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) after being selected as interim superintendent following the ousting of previous leader retired Army Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III

The school´s board has also committed to other changes, including creating a permanent diversity office.

VMI said the statue will be relocated to a nearby Civil War museum at a battlefield where dozens of VMI cadets were killed or wounded. 

Wins said in a statement on Monday that 'it is an understatement to say the relocation of the statue has evoked strong opinions on both sides of the issue.'

'The history of VMI over the past 181 years is well documented. Stonewall Jackson´s ties to Lexington and the Institute as an instructor are part of that history,' Wins said. 

But, he added: 'VMI does not define itself by this statue and that is why this move is appropriate,' he added.

Statue of Confederate General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson is removed from Virginia Military Institute at a cost of $209,000 Statue of Confederate General Thomas 'Stonewall' Jackson is removed from Virginia Military Institute at a cost of $209,000 Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:10 Rating: 5

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