People who passed through Monroe Park on Sunday morning stopped to stare and take pictures of the graffiti-scrawled pedestal that once held the statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham.
Marvin Jones, who lives near the park, stopped by after seeing the news about the statue coming down on Saturday night.
“I’m glad they tore it down,” Jones said. “They need to bring them all down.”
The statue, which demonstrators toppled on Saturday night, was nowhere to be seen. City officials could not immediately be reached for comment about where the statue was taken after it was pulled down.
Alice Massie, president of the board of the Monroe Park Conservancy that manages the park located in the heart of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, said she thinks the statue was taken away by the National Guard.
Massie declined to say where the statue was taken.
“The physical statue is secure,” she said.
Bryce Collier, who was biking in the park, said he thought the statue would still be on the ground when he passed through on Sunday morning, and he was stunned by how quickly it was taken away.
“That is a testament and a symbol to show how fast these statues can be removed,” Collier said. “These statues are hate that everyone knows about.”
Paul Rucker, an associate professor at VCU, said the statue’s toppling is “just a start.” Dealing with white supremacy will entail a lot more than statues coming down, said Rucker, who walked by the statue’s pedestal on Sunday morning.
“It’s about addressing disparities in health care, education, housing, jobs,” said Rucker, an iCubed research fellow at VCU. “It’s really about jobs. When you’re in a city that’s 50% black, and you go to a boardroom or an office and you only see one black person working in that office and the other black people in the whole building are janitors, we have a problem.”
As he walked his dog through Monroe Park, John-Lawrence Smith called it “a disgrace” that the statue had been pulled down by demonstrators. Smith said he hoped Wickham’s statue would be put back up, and he added that the city’s statues honor “great men” who sacrificed for their country.
“I think it’s disrespectful. I think it’s highly offensive,” Smith said of the statue’s removal by demonstrators. “It’s not just about this. They’re trying to undermine the country and the Constitution.”
After a day and evening of peaceful protests and marches in Richmond and its suburbs on Saturday, protesters using ropes pulled down Wickham’s statue, which had stood in the park since 1891.
Most of the protesters who had marched through the city Saturday night had already dispersed when the statue was taken down. After it fell, one person urinated on it and then ran away.
About an hour after the incident in Monroe Park, nearly 40 cars were seen surrounding the Lee statue, blocking traffic along Monument Avenue.
In 2017, two brothers descended from Wickham had called on Mayor Levar Stoney and the City Council to remove the statue.
Wickham’s was one of two statues honoring Confederate officers in Monroe Park. The other is a stone cross dedicated to Gen. Fitzhugh Lee for his service in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War.