Groups Seek To Hold Protest To “Protect” Confederate Monuments In Richmond

Some of the same groups that were behind this weekend’s protests in Charlottesville over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from the town square are now planning on protesting in Virginia’s capital in Richmond:

A Confederate heritage organization has asked the state for permission to gather Sept. 16 at Richmond’s Robert E. Lee monument.

The rally would come roughly a month after Saturday’s white nationalist protest descended into violence in Charlottesville.

The Department of General Services has received a request from Americans for Richmond Monument Preservation for a permit to hold an event at the Lee Monument on Monument Avenue, according to Dena Potter, an agency spokeswoman, who said the application is under review and has not been approved.

Potter said the request was submitted by Bragdon Bowling — a former commander of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. Bowling could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday evening.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office said it could not provide information on Sunday, and Mayor Levar Stoney also declined to comment, referring questions to Capitol Police. Stoney spokesman Jim Nolan said city police and Capitol police will be meeting to discuss the request, but he could not provide further information.

Capitol Police, as a legislative agency, would not be involved unless and until the request is approved by General Services as an executive branch agency.

Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham said more information about the status of the permit is expected this week.

According to an online post dated Aug. 7 on a blog listed as being for The Virginia Flaggers, a group called Save Southern Heritage has obtained a permit from Capitol Police to rally at the Lee Monument on Sept. 16. However, that information does not match what the state received, and the Richmond Times-Dispatch was unable to reach anyone associated with that group.

Several monuments in the state capital have become the source of controversy in the years since the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina that led to the removal of the Confederate Flag from the grounds of South Carolina’s Capitol Building in Columbia as well as other controversies regarding Confederate symbols on public property across the south. Assuming that the request for a permit is granted, and under existing law there are few grounds under which it could legally be declined outright, tensions will obviously be high given what happened just 70 miles away in Charlottesville.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Tear the damn things down already. Melt the metal and cast it into a giant cube and drop it into the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Then let the good ol’ boys go there to worship the 19th century losers on horseback.

  2. Mark Ivey says:

    Sons of Confederate Veterans. Meetings every Sunday after church at the local Cracker Barrel.

  3. @Mark Ivey:

    And at the Waffle House on alternate Saturdays.

  4. Gustopher says:

    @Mark Ivey: Sons of Southern Slaveowners doesn’t have the same ring, does it?

  5. al-Alameda says:

    I was wondering: Are there any monuments to honor generals and “heroes” of the Third Reich situated in various locations in Germany?

    We’re still not over the Civil War, let alone the nearly 400 year legacy of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow.

  6. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Great article on the topic. I strongly suggest a read.

    In short, the “heritage” that white separatists refer to is not the confederacy itself, but the Reconstruction Period and the Jim Crow laws.

    Josh makes a point that many of these statues were not put up until well after the Civil war…

    … but from the decades of the establishment of Jim Crow, to celebrate the South’s ability to establish an apartheid system on the ruins of the Antebellum slave South. A statue of Lee in uniform, mounted on a horse in a southern town square has only ever had one meaning: white supremacy. These statues didn’t come to be associated with racism and Jim Crow only after the Civil War had receded into memory. They were created, from the start, to mark and celebrate the foundations of Jim Crow, uncontested white rule. More mythically, but to the same end, they were built to glorify a vision of the South in which her black citizens had no place.

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  8. Against the left says:

    Ulysses Grant had slaves, Thomas Jefferson had slaves, and George Washington had slaves. Burn all of your money if you truly believe in the cause until then leave the statues alone.

  9. Matt says:

    @Against the left: Boy I bet you think you’re clever. So when did those people you list fight against this country in order to keep those slaves?

    George Washington expressed a dislike for the practice in private but he had to keep quiet in public as the nation he was founding was new and the bond was fragile. Prior to 1782 there were laws in Virginie that severely limited a slaver owners ability to emancipate their slaves. So to say things were complicated is an understatement. He did set his slaves free in his will (the last of which were freed upon his wife’s death).”

    Although I agree that William Lee should be better known by people as he served closely with Washington through the revolutionary war and into his presidency.

  10. DrDaveT says:

    I am truly fascinated by the appeal of this argument to so many people. “George Washington was a slave-owner, therefore you should protect relics of Jim Crow intimidation.” It’s such an obvious non-sequitur, and yet clearly seems like a powerful riposte to these people who keep repeating it. There has to be a Soc Psych dissertation in there somewhere…