NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A civil rights group in Norfolk is calling for the removal of the Confederate monument that sits on Main Street downtown.
On Thursday, United Front for Justice sent letters to city leaders asking that the monument come down.
“They need to vote and remove it,” Activist Roy L. Perry-Bey said. “They need to move it into some cemetery or some museum setting, but certainly it doesn’t belong on Main Street.”
According to the Norfolk Historical Society, the Confederate monument was first discussed in the 1800s. It was erected, then moved in the 1960’s for fear that it could be damaged during the construction of the building that’s now Bank of America. The monument was re-erected in the 1970’s and put near its original site. That’s where it sits today.
Perry-Bey said the Confederate flag and the monument are symbols of hate.
“Here we have a statue that represents everything ugly about the past and the future that we’re still fighting,” he said. “It means everything to those of us who understand segregation and discrimination, racial hate and racial bigotry.”
Not everyone agrees with the calls to remove the monument. Paul Price lives in Virginia Beach, but works in the Bank of America building. He told WAVY.com, “I think it’s a part of our history, and I think it should remain.”
Casey Martin has spent the week in Norfolk for training. She lives in North Carolina. She said, “To me, it’s not offensive, but I understand how to some people it probably is.”
In addition to the letter sent to Norfolk city leaders, Perry-Bey said he has sent letters to state leaders, hoping to gain support to get the monument taken down.
10 On Your Side has learned there is a state law that prevents the removal of monuments for war veterans.
Lori Crouch, spokeswoman for the city of Norfolk, said the city has no comment on the calls for the monument to be removed.
WAVY.com has not yet heard back from Congressman Bobby Scott or Congressman Scott Rigell.