Virginia General Assembly Votes to Remove Statue of Former Governor Harry Byrd, Sr.

The Virginia Senate voted 36 to 3 Tuesday to remove the capitol’s statue of former Democratic Governor Harry Byrd, Sr. His legacy is marked by his expansion of Virginia’s economy and roads, and is tarnished by a battle to block desegregating schools. The House of Delegates had already voted in favor of the bill, HB 2208, introduced by Delegate Jay Jones (D-Norfolk.) Governor Ralph Northam is expected to approve the bill.

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Virginia House of Delegates Votes to Remove Statue of Segregationist Governor Harry Byrd, Sr.

The Virginia House of Delegates voted 63 to 34 on Wednesday to remove to storage the statue of former Democratic Governor Harry Byrd Sr. from Capitol Square. Byrd served as governor for four years from 1926-1930, and as Senator from 1933 until 1965. He wielded extensive political power which he used to oppose the New Deal and civil rights legislation. His legacy has come under fire in part because he advocated “Massive Resistance,” an effort to block school desegregation mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

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