West Virginia commission punts on Confederate memorials
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Capitol Building Commission met Wednesday, but did not take up the issue of whether to move a statue and bust of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from the Capitol grounds, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
The commission held a public hearing on the issue in December, when seven of eight speakers called for removing the statue from the southeast corner of the Capitol complex and the bust from the Capitol Rotunda. Since then, the commission has met twice but the issue has not appeared on its agenda.
Calls to remove the monuments date back a decade, but they intensified last summer as part of a wave of Confederate memorial removals across the South during protests against the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020.
The Kanawha County Board of Education unanimously voted to change the name of Charleston’s Stonewall Jackson Middle School last year after community protests. That school’s student body is 42% Black, the highest percentage of any of the state’s public middle schools, according to the West Virginia Department of Education.
Meanwhile, Commissioners in Harrison County, where Jackson was born, voted last year to keep his statue outside the courthouse there after hearing public comments on a proposal to remove it.
Earlier this week, the Virginia Military Institute removed the duplicate of the West Virginia Capitol’s Stonewall Jackson statue from its grounds.