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Lee statue's 1887 time capsule set to be removed

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Some of the items that will go inside the contemporary time capsule
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Posted at 6:40 AM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 13:02:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Now that the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has been taken down in Richmond, crews plan to remove a piece of history from its gigantic pedestal.

A time capsule from 1887 that state officials believe is tucked inside the statue’s base is set to be removed Thursday.

But as of 10 a.m. on Thursday, crews were having a hard time locating the time capsule.

Regardless, Governor Ralph Northam's Chief of Staff Clark Mercer said they will be placing a new time capsule inside that contains 39 items reflective of current times.

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Blueprints of Lee monument pedestal

Those include an expired vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, a piece of ribbon from the unveiling on Kehinde Wiley's Rumors of War statue and a photo of a Black ballerina with her fist raised near the Lee statue.

The 1887 capsule is believed to contain Confederate memorabilia and a picture of Abraham Lincoln in his coffin.

State leaders said the plan is to preserve the 1880s capsule at the state's conservation lab.

Virginia Chief Diversity Officer​ Dr. Janice Underwood said, "The items that are coming out of the time capsule now represented a Virginia way back when, but only a narrow view of what Virginia stood for and epitomized. But today, on this table, represents such a diverse picture of what Virginia is and who we want to be."

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Some historians believe the 1880s time capsule may contain a two-of-a-kind image of President Abraham Lincoln lying in state.