As a wave of U.S. cities have moved to topple their Confederate statues in the wake of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Richmond — which was once the capital of the Confederacy — could become the next flashpoint in the debate over what to do with its monuments.
In the heart of Richmond, five statues depicting Confederate figures line a two-mile stretch of Monument Avenue, NBC News reported. The monuments are of Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Matthew Fontaine Maury.
On Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney pointedly reversed course and announced that he felt the Confederate statues should be removed. The marked change came days after the deadly protest in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed and 19 others were injured after a driver slammed his car into counter-protesters as white nationalists rallied against the planned removal of a Confederate monument.
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"I wish they had never been built," Stoney said in a statement, later adding, "These monuments should be part of our dark past and not of our bright future."