Virginia city council votes to remove Confederate monument

A Virginia city council has voted to remove a Confederate monument that has stood in the city for more than a century

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- A Virginia city council voted to remove a Confederate monument that has stood in the city for more than a century.

The Newport News City Council agreed to take down the figure in a 6-1 vote Tuesday, two months after city workers covered the statue in tarp due to demonstrations in the city, news outlets reported.

The monument, which honors a Virginia Confederate infantry unit, has stood in front of the 1884 Warwick County Courthouse since 1909.

Nearly 50 people gathered by the monument in June to demand its swift removal amid the national protests against racism and police brutality. An online petition asking the same thing has also been signed by more than 770 people.

The council took public remarks before the vote. Andrew Shannon, vice president of the Virginia Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said in his comments that the figure symbolized “hatred, bigotry, and divisiveness.”

Councilwoman Pat Woodbury, who voted against the measure, said removing the monument represented erasing history, and advocated for its continued presence saying it could teach people about the past, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The city will now wait another 30 days to consider possible offers to take the memorial from museums, battlefields or other organizations.

Newport News is located about 69 miles (111 kilometers) southeast of Richmond.