King George County is evaluating a plan to move a Confederate memorial from the lawn in front of the courthouse to a cemetery. On Tuesday evening, the Board of Supervisors went into a closed meeting with the county attorney and county administrator for about an hour. When they came out of the closed meeting, Chairman Ann Cupka read a brief statement before the meeting adjourned.
“With consensus of the Board of Supervisors, I direct staff to communicate with Historyland Memorial Park regarding relocation of the Confederate Memorial, to determine the cost of the relocation, and to work with community groups to raise the necessary funding,” she said.
In a public hearing at the beginning of the meeting, King George Branch NAACP President Wayne Bushrod said, “This monument represents a time when our ancestors were enslaved, treated, and thought of as unequal. Why would you want to portray this mentality and promote such a message in front of our court of justice? Everyone entering this building passes by this display and worries if they will be fairly tried or receive equal justice. Is this the image we want to describe to our residents and visitors to our county?”
Community member Don Shelton asked questions about who had the right to remove the monument. “Should the cost of the moving of this this monument be on the taxpayers? I don’t think so,” Shelton said. “You know I’d like to see it stay where it’s at but it’s up to you guys, with the legal advice to make the right choice.”
The monument is a stone obelisk-style memorial dedicated in 1869 — the first Confederate memorial at a Virginia courthouse, The Free-Lance Star reported in July 2020. At that time, the Board said they needed more time to consider the history of the monument. In September 2020, officials told The Free-Lance Star that there would likely be a November 2021 referendum on removing the monument if the county could determine that they owned the monument and the ground beneath it.
When asked about next steps in the process, Cupka told The Star she wouldn’t offer further comment and no other Board members responded to a request for comment.
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