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Bill to remove Byrd statue from Capitol Square heads to Northam

A statue of Harry Byrd Sr. in Capitol Square.
A statue of Harry Byrd Sr. in Capitol Square.(Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 1:23 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — Virginia Delegate Jay Jones proposed a bill to direct Virginia to remove the statue of Harry F. Byrd, Sr. from Capitol Square in Richmond in June 2020.

Now, his bill is heading to Governor Northam’s desk for review, according to a press release from Jones’ office. By a vote of 36-3, the Senate advanced the measure that had already cleared the House.

Byrd was a Democrat who served as Virginia’s governor and a U.S. senator. He ran the state’s most powerful political machine for decades until his death in 1966 and was considered the architect of the state’s racist “massive resistance” policy to public school integration.

“Racism and its symbols, obvious and subtle, have no place in this new Virginia decade,” says Jones in the press release. “Monuments to segregation, Massive Resistance, and the subjugation of one race below another, such as the Byrd statue, serve only as a reminder of the overt and institutional racism that has and continues to plague our Commonwealth. It’s long past time to bring them down, and I’m proud to be a voice to do just that.”

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