The lawsuit was filed by William C. Gregory, who’s described within the grievance as a descendant of two signatories to the deed. Named as defendants are Northam and the director of the Department of General Services, the company tasked with dealing with the removal.
“(Gregory’s) family has taken pride for 130 years in this statue resting upon land belonging to his family and transferred to the Commonwealth in consideration of the Commonwealth contractually guaranteeing to perpetually care for and protect the Lee Monument,” the lawsuit says.
Northam’s spokeswoman, Alena Yarmosky, mentioned in an announcement that the governor’s administration remains to be reviewing the order.
“Governor Northam stays dedicated to eradicating this divisive image from Virginia’s capital metropolis, and we’re assured in his authority to take action,” she mentioned.
Northam final week ordered the statue of Lee taken down, citing the ache felt throughout the nation over the loss of life of George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.
Motivated by a bystander’s video of Floyd’s agony, demonstrators around the globe have vowed to maintain a motion targeted on addressing racial injustice and police brutality. In the American South, they’re additionally advocating for the swift removal of Confederate monuments, with or with out the approval of authorities.
Opponents of the monuments say they rejoice white supremacy and gloss over the nation’s historical past of slavery. Others who advocate for retaining them say they’ve historic or creative worth and their removal quantities to erasing historical past.
Authorities have eliminated different symbols since protests erupted two weeks in the past, together with an enormous obelisk in Birmingham, Alabama, and a bronze likeness of Admiral Raphael Semmes that had stood in a center of a downtown avenue close to the Mobile, Alabama, waterfront for 120 years. In Fredericksburg, Virginia, a 176-year-old slave public sale block was faraway from town’s downtown, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy eliminated its statue from Old Town, Alexandria.
In different instances, protesters aren’t ready: In Richmond over the weekend, protesters toppled a statue of Gen. Williams Carter Wickham in a park close to downtown, and in Bristol, England, a statue of slave dealer Edward Colston met a watery finish.
Northam has mentioned the large Lee statue could be eliminated “as soon as possible” and his administration would search public enter about its future.
Crews inspected the statue earlier Monday as a part of the planning for its removal.
“The massive statue weighs approximately 12 tons, stands 21 feet tall, and has been on a 40-foot pedestal for 130 years. Meticulous planning is required to remove an aging monument of this size and scale safely,” the Department of General Services mentioned in an announcement.
Four different Confederate monuments dot Monument Avenue, a prestigious residential avenue in Richmond, which was additionally the capital of the Confederacy in the course of the Civil War. Richmond’s metropolis council has affirmed unanimous assist for eradicating the opposite 4, in line with The Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Together, they’re among the many nation’s most outstanding assortment of tributes to the Confederacy, and their deliberate removal has been extensively praised by black leaders and activists.