West Virginia group calls for removing statue of Stonewall Jackson
More than 150 West Virginia residents gathered at a statue of Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on the grounds of the state Capitol in Charleston to call for its removal on Sunday.
The move on Sunday evening came on the heels of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
Three people were killed Saturday and dozens injured as white nationalists protested Charlottesville's decision to remove a Confederate monument.
In addition to holding a vigil for the victims and city of Charlottesville, the group called on West Virginia Governor Jim Justice to take down the statue of Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
"I want people to know that hillbillies do not stand for this type of hate," Dustin White of Charleston tells WSAZ. "This is an issue that has been laying under the surface for quite some time."
Jack Deskins, who helped to organize the West Virginia event, says Jackson tried to preserve the institution of slavery and bought a black child as a gift for his wife.
The group was met with a few counter-protesters, many of them veterans, who say taking the statue down would be an act of trying to remove history.
"What they're doing is they're destroying history. They're taking history away from the kids," James Chapman of South Charleston says. "Just because some idiots in Charlottesville went crazy, some KKK members and some white supremacists, a bunch of idiots. That doesn't mean that we're idiots in West Virginia, in Charleston."
The group met at the capitol complex for approximately two hours, listening to several speakers and chanting at times.
Everything remained peaceful, although Capitol police, Charleston police and West Virginia State Police were all present.
All requests to reach Governor Justice for a statement went unanswered.