Virginia Military Institute board unanimously votes to remove Stonewall Jackson statue
Mary Rose Corkery, DCNF
The Virginia Military Institute’s Board of Visitors has unanimously voted to remove the school’s Stonewall Jackson statue from campus.
The move comes after Kaleb Tucker and other black alumni started a campaign for the statue’s removal, citing racism at the institute experienced by black cadets. The board concurred on forming a diversity office and diversity and inclusion panel, The Washington Post reported.
Tucker co-created a petition five months ago which urges the school to “acknowledge racism” and remove the statue. It has received over 1,000 signatures, according to Change.org.
“If something or someone is in place that does not signify equality and justice for all, then VMI is not the place for it,” Tucker said, WaPo reported. “Each step towards equality and justice at my alma mater touches my heart dearly.”
Tucker expressed his elation on Thursday when he heard the news and hopes the statue will go to a museum, WaPo reported. Tucker said the statue discomforted too many students.
VMI officials vote to remove statue of Stonewall Jackson https://t.co/cTDpbzeMe5
— WPXI (@WPXI) October 30, 2020
“Yes, the intention of the board of visitors is for the statue to be relocated. VMI owns the New Market Battlefield as well as the home that Stonewall Jackson owned in Lexington which is now a museum,” Bill Wyatt, colonel, Virginia Militia director of communications & marketing, FOIA officer told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Both locations are potential options for relocation though a final decision has not been made. Also, there is no decision on what might replace the Jackson statue, if anything,” Col. Wyatt continued.
Officials, including Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, announced an investigation concerning “the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism at the Virginia Military Institute,” following a WaPo story of alleged racism at the school, according to a separate WaPo report.
“There is no place for racism or discrimination at VMI,” retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III said in a statement to WaPo.
Peay swore in his statement that “any allegation of racism or discrimination will be investigated and appropriately punished, if substantiated,” the WaPo reported.
Peay resigned on Monday as superintendent and defended Jackson in July as a “staunch Christian” and “military genius,” according to another WaPo report. Peay withstood calls for the statue to be taken down and had been superintendent since 2003.
Northam’s Media Contact did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.