Council makes move to relocate Confederate statue

Published 8:59 am Thursday, May 20, 2021

Eleven months after hastily removing the bronze soldier from atop the Confederate statue on High Street, Farmville’s Town Council took a step toward deciding what to do with it.

The council voted unanimously Wednesday, May 19, to have the town surveyor look for a location in the Confederate Cemetery to reassemble the statue and provide a cost estimate for moving the base of the statue still remaining on High Street and the bronze soldier that has been in storage since June 2020.

Farmville's Confederate monument should be...

  • Put back where it was on High Street (48%, 53 Votes)
  • Moved to the Confederate Cementery (29%, 32 Votes)
  • Taken down completely (22%, 24 Votes)
  • No opinion (2%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 111

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The statue was removed back in June minutes after a vote to take it down in a special closed session council meeting as social unrest swept across the country and Confederate statues were being taken down both voluntarily and by force in several different locations. The council deemed the statue a safety hazard.

Afterwards, council sought an opinion from the Virginia Attorney General about how to proceed given the move to remove the statue was taken before a state law framing a process for the removal of Confederate statues went into effect July 1 of 2020. That opinion has never come, but a Virginia Supreme Court Case concerning the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville seemed to set a precedent that municipalities can do what they wish with statues erected before 1977. Farmville’s statue was put into place in 1900.

“We are talking about, and it has been in other meetings discussed, that the town would move what is remaining on High Street and the soldier to the Confederate Cemetery, which is town property, reassemble and put the monument there – potentially,” Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis said.

The Confederate Cemetery has repeatedly come up as a suitable alternative location for the statue that has often been seen as out of place and unwelcome across the street from Longwood University and in front of Farmville United Methodist Church. Several citizens spoke in favor of relocating the statue to the Confederate Cemetery at an August 2020 public hearing on the issue.