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Virginia Beach to remove 115-year-old Confederate monument

July 24, 2020 GMT

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The city of Virginia Beach will remove a 115-year-old Confederate monument from public grounds near its municipal center.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that its City Council voted unanimously Thursday night to begin the removal process.

The monument had been installed in 1905 outside a courthouse and in the same place that slave auctions were once held. The monument stands 27-feet tall and depicts a Confederate solider holding a rifle.

Virginia Beach officials listened to dozens of speakers before agreeing that the monument is viewed by many as divisive and a painful reminder of the past.

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City officials said private land in the southern part of the city could be a potential relocation site. It’s owned by someone who is affiliated with the Sons of the Confederacy.

Meanwhile, state law requires city officials to explore any possible interest from museums, historical societies or military battlefields. The statue will be removed and placed in a secure place in the meantime.

Confederate monuments are coming down throughout the American South in the wake of protests against racism and police brutality. The wave of public sentiment was sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.

Many Confederate statues were erected decades after the Civil War, during an era when Southern states were crushing attempts to achieve equality for Black people.