A state panel charged with recommending a replacement for Virginia’s Robert E. Lee statue at the U.S. Capitol has set a Dec. 16 meeting to make its decision.
The Commission For Historical Statues In The United States Capitol is expected to make its recommendation to the General Assembly at the 3 p.m. meeting. The panel has been meeting virtually amid the pandemic. Details on how to attend will be posted at dhr.virginia.gov/uscapitolcommission/.
The Virginia Department of Historic Resources is researching potential honorees suggested to the panel in correspondence and in public comments. It is helping develop a list of five finalists for the panel’s consideration.
Correspondents suggested more than 70 potential honorees to the panel. The names mentioned most often are:
George C. Marshall
- , U.S. Army chief of staff during World War II who also served as secretary of state and secretary of defense. He is perhaps best known for the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war.
Oliver W. Hill Sr.
- , a civil rights attorney who fought discrimination on a host of issues in state and federal courts. Hill was an attorney in the Farmville case that became part of Brown v. Board of Education, in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled government-segregated public schools unconstitutional.
- , who led the walkout at Farmville’s Moton High School in 1951 to protest the students’ substandard, segregated school facilities. Johns’ protest as a 16-year-old led to the Farmville case that rolled into Brown v. Board of Education.
- , an important translator and bridge builder between Native Americans and the English.
Maggie L. Walker
- , the entrepreneur and civil rights leader who was the first African American woman to charter a bank in the U.S.
Others suggested most frequently included Booker T. Washington, educator, prominent African American leader and first head of the Tuskegee Institute. Robert Russa Moton, an administrator at Hampton Institute who followed Washington as leader of Tuskegee Institute and had a long career of public service; James Madison, architect of the Constitution and the fourth U.S. president; Katherine Johnson, a pioneering NASA mathematician; and John Mercer Langston, Virginia’s first African American member of Congress.
Several dozen correspondents suggested retaining the Lee statue. On Aug. 7 the state panel unanimously recommended that the Lee statue be moved to the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, which has agreed to take ownership.