- 1 This is the sandbox for experimental and draft edits by Polonius. Dude: create a new section before editing a new page here.
- 2 draft of monument litigation page
- 2.1 McIntire's Monuments
- 2.2 Public attitudes start to shift
- 2.3 Activists threaten the monuments
- 2.4 The Monument Protection Law
- 2.5 Monuments' legal protection called into question
- 2.6 Genesis of the lawsuit
- 2.7 City votes to remove or to hide monument=
- 2.8 Lawsuit filed to preserve monuments, and preliminary injunction granted
- 2.9 After Three Years of Litigation, Plaintiffs Win at Trial
- 2.10 Change of the law, and Appeal
- 2.11 Virginia Supreme Court Decision
- 2.12 Subsequent proceedings
This is the sandbox for experimental and draft edits by Polonius. Dude: create a new section before editing a new page here.
draft of monument litigation page
Note: consider breaking this into a least two pages: (1) McIntire's Monuments, reason they were erected and the shift in public opinion that put them at risk (with out-links to McIntire's bio and the various Cvillepedia specific monument pages).(2) the monument litigation, incorporating material from the Lee monument page and shortening that page.
Photos: On McIntire bio page, take and upload photo of his plaque at Hist Soc.. Jacksn and Lee monumnet pages should have photos of statues with orange fence, and tarps.
In 1917 and 1918 Paul Goodloe McIntire, Charlottesville's single greatest benefactor, commissioned four heroic sculptures from members of the National Sculpture Society to grace the city of his birth. McIntire's gifts to the City reflected the influence of the City Beautiful Movement when figurative sculptural monuments were erected "to inspire the beholder with high ideals and to emulation of deeds of self-sacrifice, valor, or patriotism." McIntire's monuments were:
- 1. "Their First View of the Pacific", the Meriwether Lewis and William Clark Sculpture by Charles Keck depicts three figures in bronze: William Clark in the foreground; Meriwether Lewis above and behind him; and Sacagawea, the Indian guide, crouching at their left, holding back her braided hair as she gazes down in wonder at the ocean. Sacagewea was a late addition on the artist's own initiative. As a tribute to a particular woman in her own right (as opposed to idealized figures, like the Statue of Liberty, or Blind Justice) it was ahead of its time. The sculptural group is set atop a rectangular pedestal of pink granite carved with scenes from the expedition's travels that is also of Keck's design. The art work is located in a small circular remnant of Midway Park at the intersection of Ridge and Main Streets and McIntire Road and was presented to the city of Charlottesville on 21 November 1919.
- 2.The Thomas Jonathan Jackson monument sculpted by Charles Keck portrays a heroic-sized Jackson riding into battle on his horse, Little Sorrel, in bronze. Keck designed an elaborate oval pedestal of pink granite with the allegorical figures of Faith and Valor carved in high relief on the front. Paul McIntire gave Jackson Park, a formal landscaped square adjacent to the Albemarle County Courthouse and bounded by High, Fourth, and Jefferson Streets, for the display of the art work, and the sculpture was presented to the city of Charlottesville on 19 October 1921.
- 3. The George Rogers Clark monument sculpted by Robert Aitken depicts a seven-figure group in bronze atop a simple trapezoidal pedestal of pink granite also of Aitken's design. Clark is portrayed in conference with a standing Indian chief who shares the central focus. The conqueror of the Northwest is mounted and leads three members of his expedition who, with guns ready cautiously look out from behind the horse at the Indian chief and two others of his tribe. The sculpture was erected in a small unnamed triangular park at the eastern edge of the University of Virginia campus bounded by the intersection of University and Jefferson Park Avenues and the railroad tracks, and presented to the University on 3 November 1921.
- 4. The Robert Edward Lee monument begun by Henry Shrady and after his death, finished by Leo Lentelli portrays an heroic-sized equestrian figure of the celebrated Confederate general in bronze. A solemn and dignified Lee rides his horse, Traveller, returning to his men after the surrender at Appomattox, ceremonial sword at his side and hat in hand, to tell his men the war is over; we are all one people now, reconcile. It sits atop an oval pedestal of pink granite designed by architect Walter Blair that is decorated front and back with wreaths and an eagle carved in relief. Paul McIntire gave Lee Park, a formal landscaped square between Jefferson and Market Streets and First and Second Streets NE, for the display of the sculpture, and it was presented to the city of Charlottesville on 21 May 1924.
Public attitudes start to shift
The monuments at the outset were a source of civic pride; the unveiling of each an occasion for a full day of celebrations, speeches by local dignitaries, parties and balls. Over the next ninety years garden clubs, citizen benefactors, and City Council cherished and maintained the monuments, tended and improved the gardens in the parks surrounding them, and warded off threats to them like a proposal in the 1950's to build underground parking under Lee park.
As late as the 1990's Councilor David Toscano (later mayor, then minority leader in the House of Delegates) obtained city Council approval to appropriate federal grant money to clean the Jackson statue. Likewise in 1997, the City accepted about $60,000 in private donations for a two-year professional restoration for the Lee and Jackson monuments. Speaking about the contemporaneous restoration of the statue of Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark using city money, Maurice Cox, then the only African-American on City Council, said, “It is an important responsibility for the city to maintain the historic statues.”
However, public attitudes began to shift around the turn of the 21st century, as activists began arguing that all McIntire's monuments in various ways demeaned or oppressed minorities: African Americans, women, and Native Americans.
Activists threaten the monuments
The first target of the most virulent attacks were the Lee and Jackson monuments. Controversy over Confederate symbols was nothing new: the NAACP and Sons of Confederate Veterans have been roaming the American landscape "like professional gladiators ready to do battle" over Confederate symbols and their meaning, as far back as the 1960's.
The revision, perhaps inversion of local opinion about Charlottesville's monuments largely started to build after 2012. During the 2012 Charlottesville Festival of the Book, community organizer and activist Kristin Szakos asked about removing Charlottesville's Lee monument during a presentation by historian Ed Ayers.
“By the gasps around me, you’d have thought I’d asked if it was OK to torture puppies,” Szakos later said. The vitriolic reaction confirms: at the time public opinion was largely on the side of the monuments.
But attitudes began to shift in 2013 after the killing of George Zimmerman and the founding of Black Lives Matter, and especially after 2015 when Dylann Roof shot up a black church while waving a Confederate Battle flag. Some activists saw in the mounting outrage an opportunity to bring about a major shift of view about all things Confederate, especially the flag.
Before the August 12, 2017 Unite the Right rally roiled the City, a majority of locals (including a descendant of slaves) speaking before the Blue Ribbon Commmission on Race Memorials and Public spaces advocated keeping both the Lee and Jackson statues where they stood. Cite: https://richmond.com/news/virginia/in-charlottesville-support-voiced-for-lee-jackson-statues/article_ef708687-20f7-5f2c-a79c-18b3d2e150d0.html Afterward, opinions shifted. Both City Councilors who had voted agianst the Lee removal resolution the previous February, in August reversed their position. [cite: https://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/347133-charlottesville-mayor-requests-virginia-governor-for-confederate-statue]
The Monument Protection Law
Since at least 1904, Virginia law had protected veterans' memorials against desecration. Virginia's law derived from in piecemeal 19th and early 20th century legislation authorizing specific Virginia counties to erect Confederate war memorials in front of their courthouses. These one-at-at-a-time authorizations usually included language protecting the monument against removal, once erected.
In 1904 the legislature created a blacnket authority for all Virgnia counties to erect Confederate war memorials. Then over succeeding decades amendments expanded the law to include most conflicts: the American Revolution; the War of 1812; the War with Mexico in 1847; Spanish American War; World War I; World War II; the Korean War; the Vietnam War, and others.
But detractors point out the law was redolent of White Supremacy. The 1904 law was tainted by association with Virginia's Constitution of 1902, insituting poll taxes and other barriers to disenfranchise Black voters. Detractor argues law that originally protecting only Confederate monuments likewise reflected fear of Blacks taking over local governments, and using their new political power to dismantle the symbols of White authority. (cite)
In the course of over a dozen amendments in its 100 year history, a significant change was its extension in 1997 to protect monuments in all localities. That 1997 amendment was later to become pivotal in the Virginia Supreme's Vourt interpretation of its applicanlty.
And in 2000 an enforcement provision was added, so that "any person with an interest in the matter" could sue their own local authorities for encroaching on a monument. If the citizens won, they'd recover the cost of the litigation including attorneys fees.
Monuments' legal protection called into question
In the aftermath of Dylann Roof's 2015 rampage, a judge in Danville, Virginia, ruled that the city of Danville could order the removal of the Confederate battle flag at the Sutherlin Mansion. Virginia's monument protection law did not apply to a flag and flagpole, the Judge ruled. Almost as an afterthought, the Judge added that the law did not protect any monumentsin cities, erected prior to its amendment in 1997 to apply to localties. That decision gave fresh impetus to Szakos and her fellow activists in Charlottesville.
The next year, in January 2016, a new City Council took office, Ms. Szakos among them. She and fellow Councillor Wes Bellamy later infamous for Tweets like "I don't lik white people so I hate white snow!!!!!" [sic] persuaded the new Mayor Mike Signer to consider removing the Lee monument. The Danville decision and a Democratic Governor in office had opened what the activists considered a "window of opportunity.". Mayor Michael Signer (at least initially) regarded tearing down monuments as Orwellian censorship." To take some time to think about it, Signer called for a Blue Ribbon Commission of Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces.
Szakos and Bellamy then tried to rig the outcome."
A year later, in February 2017, after the Commission tendered its report, City Council voted 3-2 to remove the Lee monument. The Jackson monument was to be left in place.
Genesis of the lawsuit
While painted in the media as a conflict over race, in fact the most striking divide between the two sides over the monuments among locals had to do with age, politics, and even religion. (cite) [ref = New Yorker] https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-church-leaders-in-charlottesville-prepared-for-white-supremacists
Anti-monument protestors were mostly (though not exclusively) young, many students, overwhelmingly White, self-described 'progessives' railing against what they called symbolic reminders of a racist past. Some of the most zealous were affiliated with religious organizations, for whom purging Confederate idols became an article of faith. [ref= New YOker] (cite: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/09/13/are-confederate-monument-fans-committing-sin-idol-worship-an-unusual-charlottesville-bible-study-makes-case/ For them, , see also https://dailyprogress.com/news/local/community-members-gather-to-cleanse-site-where-at-ready-statue-stood/article_b7b099db-dbe2-52b3-9ec2-8b864131efa4.html)
The New Yorker described the other, pro-monument side, as Old Virginia (perhaps better described as elderly Charlottesville: two senior citizen Plaintiffs had died before the case was resolved). [ref = New Yorker] [ref == LLoed Smith (age 86) and Virgnia Amiss (95). Again, they were overwhelmingly though not exclusively White, among them historic preservationists, established lawyers, and among the Plaintiffs a few affiliated with heritage organizations like Sons of Confederate Veterans. There were also political conservatives or non-political independents objecting to the sanitizing the past to comport with today's left wing party line. (Cite to 'presentism) An "Orwellian" enterprise (to use Mayor Signer's phrase). .
Most importantly, on the other side also was Virginia law.
City votes to remove or to hide monument=
In February 2017 Charlottesville's City Council voted a resolution to remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and a subsequen resolution to offer it for sale. Then in August 2017 reacting Unite the Right rally, thwarted in physical removal by Court injunction, in August 2017 the City tried instead removing the statues from public view, permanently concealing them under tarps. The city also voted to remove the statue of Confederate Lt. Genral Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.
Lawsuit filed to preserve monuments, and preliminary injunction granted
Citizens including practicing and retired lawyers had written City Council in 2016 saying that removing war monuments woulds illegal. (cite) So did lawyer and Mayor Signer, on the dais during the vote. [cite] Over a dozen plaintiffs filed suit in March 2017.
Twelve Plaintiffs among them local lawyers, military veterans, Charlottesville citizens and taxpayers, relatives of the donor McIntire and of artist Henry Shrady, and two organizations: the Monument Fund, Inc. and Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, filed a suit in March 2017 claiming that Council's action to remove the statue was illegal under Virginia law.
The PLaintiffs filed suit as individuals with a personal interwst in historic preservation, some as City taxpayers challenging an illegal expenidutre of tax funds, and all invoked a statutory cause of action (since removed) allowing "any person with an interest in the matter" to sue their own local auhtoirties to prevent monument desecration.
Judge Moore granted a temporary injunction in May 2017. [cite] Judge Moore ruled that Virginia's monument protection law did apply to the Lee monument. He differed with the Danville decision on the facts: this was an actual statue of a Confederate general, not simply a flag and a flagpole. And as to the law, he simply disagreed that the law did not apply. [cite]
But then came another major media event: the street riots in Charlottesville of August 12, 2017, when right wing and left wing activistsclashed. The right wing claimed to be rallying in support of the Lee monument. That further cemented in the public mind the connection between Confederate history, and contemporary neo-Nazis. [cite: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/13/us/charlottesville-rally-protest-statue.html
At the next City Council meeting after furious left wing activists trampled the dais, there could no longer be found a single Councillor willing to support preserving the Lee and Jackson monuments. They voted to remove bot and failing that, to cover them permanently with tarps. Signer said, the events of August 12 had tainted them, "changed their meaning forever." In the popular imagination they no longer had any conceivable benign reason to exist. [cite]
City Council's iconoclasm extended over the next year to removing as well the Lewis & Clark monument for assertedly demeaning Sacagewea; and as the contagion spread U Va.'s Board of Visitors would later vote to remove their statue of Revolutionary war hero George Rogers Clark (brother of William Clark). [cite]
The injunction, meanwhile, was confirmed and expanded to protect Jackson and to force the City to remove the ugly tarps they draped over both statues. [cite]
After Three Years of Litigation, Plaintiffs Win at Trial
The ligigation over the monuments itself was monumental. Judge Moore called it "one of the most complex cases I have ever heard or been involved in;" with "more attorneyss appearing on this case than I have ever known;" counsel exerted "maximum effort.' [cite: Jan. 21, 2020 Opinion Letter pg. 5-6, cite to law school website]
Hoping to dodge the monument law, the City tried to argue that the giant monuments of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonwal" Jacksonn in military unifrom riding their war horses Traveler and Littelr Sorell -- were not war memorials. This postion, which the Judge called contrary to common sense, prolongued the litigation. Ultimately the Jduge ruled that they were monuments to war veterans. (cite to judge rules they are Confederate monuments protected by law https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/charlottesvilles-confederate-monuments-are-protected-judge-rules-180972096/
The city also argued that the law did no aply to monument erected before the law became applicable to locialite in 2998. The jduge decidd this too agains them: clearly the law wa intedned to portect all war memorials, not just those recently erected.
The conflict that most people, and the mdeia beleleived the case was about: symbiols of Whate Supremeacy against anti-racists, in fact was neither decisive nor even much argued. The Judge pointed out (cite to opinion letter] "some people think --. whiole otehrs ting." 9cite to opin oin letter0
Change of the law, and Appeal
Mostly as a result of a court redistricting decision, control of the Virginia General Assembly reversed, from conservative Republican to 'Progressive" Democrat. The Democrats' first order of business was to gut the monument protection law. [cite]
Platinffs' motion for partical dissputon, Defneats resistance.
Virginia Supreme Court Decision
? As of this writing. . . .
City Council expedites monument removal. https://dailyprogress.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/city-kept-charlottesville-statue-removal-timeline-quiet-due-to-violence-concerns-documents-show/article_587f3614-ebe6-11eb-adab-43e5fa04cb12.html#tracking-source=home-top-story
religious--Episcoplain, "mostly white cngregati" favors monument removal https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2020/07/02/charlottesvilles-confederate-statues-in-limbo-with-episcopal-clergy-hopeful-for-their-removal/
religious--inuted outsiders https://auburnseminary.org/voices/what-i-saw-in-charlottesville/
George Floyd inflames monumnet rempoval https://www.c-ville.com/on-guard-opposing-camps-face-off-as-sun-sets-on-confederate-statues/
partial dissolutoin https://dailyprogress.com/news/local/monument-fund-asks-to-partially-dissolve-motion-prohibiting-removal-of-charlottesville-confederate-statues/article_b19444ec-1d05-5ce6-b6c0-d2f6f81a9cb0.html
judge rules they are Confederate monuments protected by law https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/charlottesvilles-confederate-monuments-are-protected-judge-rules-180972096/
Judge rules they are Confede ate monuments. Wash Post sasys 'retroactiveity' still to be deicded but in fact it alrady had been) https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/charlottesvilles-statue-defenders-win-partial-victory-in-lawsuit/2019/04/30/18979542-6b6d-11e9-a66d-a82d3f3d96d5_story.html?noredirect=on
U Va litigatoin filing website https://statues.law.virginia.edu/litigation/payne-v-charlottesville
city vs. rural, also 'these young people" https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog-va/in-six-rural-virginia-counties-residents-vote-overwhelmingly-to-keep-confederate-monuments/
white anti-racism groups prediominently female (describes SURJ) https://crossculturalsolidarity.com/contemporary-white-antiracism/
large somtime majoirty-white crowds https://theundefeated.com/features/why-did-black-lives-matter-protests-attract-unprecedented-white-support/
descendants of slaves support keeping monuments https://www.c-ville.com/not-black-white-lee-statue-evokes-deep-feelings-racial-history
Four McIntire sculptures nominaton f0orm https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/104-5091_FourSculpturesMPS_1996_NRHP_nomination_NPS_final.pdf
Wikiwand-- another sbtie about the statue and te lawsuit https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Robert_E._Lee_Monument_(Charlottesville,_Virginia)
overwheklmingy young, white crowds at BLM protests https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/us/george-floyd-white-protesters.html
blacks push back against whites taking over protests https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/nyregion/black-lives-matter-white-people-protesters.html
confederate symbols renoved as a result of eorge Floyd and Dylann Roof https://apnews.com/article/us-news-race-and-ethnicity-virginia-us-supreme-court-laws-9a4d17b9728f15e6972b17f708e6a4b0
special session attempts to revome 30 day waiting period https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/virginia-house-confederate-statue-bill/2020/09/08/9a9bf9ca-f20d-11ea-bc45-e5d48ab44b9f_story.html
chnage of Va monument law refelcted change of poltical party control https://thehill.com/homenews/state-watch/486560-virginia-lawmakers-undo-protections-for-confederate-monuments
change of law was part of removing o'old recists laws stll on the books" https://apnews.com/article/b147143cbf62799854b76d730b181490
- Web. National Sculpture Society
- Web. City Beautiful Movement
- Book. [ The Confederate Battle flag: America's Most Embattled Emblem], Coski, John
- Web. Szakos Decries Response to Statue Comments, Graham Moomaw, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, April 2, 2012, retrieved May 5, 2021.
- Book. [ Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege], Signer, Michael, Public Affairs
- Web. Va. Code §15.2812, (currently version of Virginia law, amending predecessor versions that prohibted anyone, including local authorities, from distubing or interfering with monuments), Virginia General Assembly, Legislation Information System, retrieved May 5, 2021.
- Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
Signer, Cry Havoc