Why have protesters
ignored statue of Byrd?
Virginia House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn ordered the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue and Confederate busts from the historic Old House Chamber of the Virginia Capital, but she has overlooked an important unmentioned removal task: the removal of Gov. Harry Byrd's statue from the capital grounds. Byrd certainly didn't fight in the Civil War; he was the leader of the Democratic machine that dominated Virginia politics from the courthouse to the statehouse for half of the 20th century. He also was a virulent racist who ordered the closure of all public schools in the commonwealth rather than accede to the court-ordered integration of the races. Massive Resistance kept both white and Black students out of school for more than a year. No other politician, not even Gov. George Wallace of Alabama, was willing to sacrifice the education of children of his own race who were without means to afford private schooling. When Gov. Lindsay Almond, with the help of state Sen. Mosby Perrow and others, forced the reopening of the schools on a "freedom of choice" basis, a plan they knew would last only until the courts struck it down, Byrd excommunicated them and did what he could to force them out of politics. Byrd's hatred of Blacks knew no bounds.
Stonewall Jackson's statue was removed in Richmond despite the fact that he violated state law almost every night to teach Black children to read so they could know the Bible. Yet Byrd's statue stands, and numerous other public monuments and places remain named for him. Why? Where are all the self-righteous demonstrators with their spray paint?
John E. Greenbacker Jr.