Crews remove Maury statue on Monument Avenue

Racial Justice Confederate Statues
Posted at 9:18 AM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 18:24:19-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Work crews removed the Maury statue from its pedestal on Monument Avenue Thursday morning.

A crowd of more than 100 onlookers cheered as a crane lifted the statue of Matthew Fontaine Maury from its base and onto a flatbed truck.

The statue, located at the intersection of N Belmont Avenue, is the second statue to be removed from Monument Avenue on the orders of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. The Stonewall Jackson Monument was removed Wednesday afternoon.

Mayor Stoney said he was using his emergency powers to order the immediate removal of multiple Confederate statues.

The mayor said failing to remove the statues presents a "severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety" and the immediate removal will expedite the healing process for the city.

Matthew Fontaine Maury was the face of the Confederate Navy during the Civil War, although most of his wartime efforts were in Europe, trying to stop the war.

The Spotsylvania County native, nicknamed the “the pathfinder of the seas” was also an astronomer, oceanographer, author, geologist, and educator.

The Pathfinder of the Seas monument on Monument Avenue was dedicated to Maury on November 11, 1929. The statue depicted Maury seated in a chair with a large globe above him. It was the last of five Confederate monuments erected on Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

Stoney says the removed statues will be placed in temporary storage while Richmond enters a 60-day administrative process during which the city will solicit public input while determining the fate of the statues.

The mayor said it would cost $1.8 million to remove the statues. He said the money would come from the Department of Public Works and be reimbursed by a private fund.

Tracey Mclean, a mayoral candidate, was live on Facebook expressing criticism for the money that is being spent on the efforts.

"We have an emergency -- a state of emergency of homelessness, we have a state of emergency of people who are about to evicted, that’s more important. The people are more important than the statues," she explained.

Mclean stated she does support the removal of the statues, but "in a manner that is respectful for everyone."

The Mayor's office said the contractor hired by the city is a minority-owned business. They had finished up their work by noon Thursday.

Brian Waters and Anna Moeser drove to the statue from where they live in Church Hill.

"Some of these guys should be not be on pedestals and they need to be taken down," Moeser said. "We are excited to see it."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.



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