WINCHESTER — A Change.org petition with more than 2,500 signatures is calling for the removal of a Confederate soldier statue on the Loudoun Street Mall, but the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation says the statue will stay where it is.

Erected in November 1916, the statue is of an unnamed Confederate soldier. It is dedicated to soldiers from Winchester and Frederick County who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, according to an inscription.

“It is time to remove the Confederate Soldier statue from the Winchester walking mall and place it where its history can be preserved: in a museum,” states the petition, started by local resident Elizabeth Albert on Tuesday and directed at the Frederick County Board of Supervisors. “Its presence in a public place is disturbing to many and off-putting to visitors, which can affect tourism and local business. To preserve history, we suggest placing the statue in either the Civil War Museum or the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, where it can be contextualized. It's time to making the walking mall and Winchester a place that's welcoming to ALL visitors.”

Numerous Confederate monuments have been taken down or removed in recent years because many people view them as glorifying slavery, white supremacy and a treasonous government associated with the Confederacy. Calls to remove these types of monuments have been renewed in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, a black man who was killed while be restrained by a white police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death has sparked nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality. A makeshift memorial to Floyd currently lies at the base of the Confederate statue in downtown Winchester.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors voted 5-1 to convey the county’s property at 20 N. Loudoun St. — which contains the former Frederick County Courthouse (now the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum) and the Confederate statue — to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation for 200 years. Stonewall Supervisor Judith McCann-Slaughter abstained from voting. Red Bud District Supervisor Blaine Dunn voted against the conveyance because he wanted more time for public input on the matter.

The agreement says the property is to be used for the preservation of local history and the operation of a museum. If the foundation ceases to use the property for this purpose, fails to maintain the layout of the historic courtroom and fails to maintain the historic structure of the building, the property and all improvements made to the property will revert back to the county’s ownership. The agreement also says the foundation may not remove or alter the Confederate statue in front of the old courthouse, or the same conditions will apply.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles DeHaven Jr. said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t object to the statue being moved inside the courthouse or to another location, such as a battlefield, but he added that “it’s a discussion for the battlefield foundation’s board to have.”

County Attorney Roderick Williams said because of the 200-year deed, any requests to move the Confederate statue need to start with the foundation, not the county government.

“Legally, for the next 200 years the county does not have any authority under property law to remove it because the property has been deeded for 200 years to the foundation,” Williams said on Wednesday. “So I think if someone wants to remove it, the party with the current interest in removing it would have to be the foundation. And if the foundation feels at some point that that is what they want to do, it would seem that they would then come to the county and say, ‘Look, we’d like to do something different here. Can we modify the deed to do so?’ Then obviously the burden would fall on the county and the Board of Supervisors to figure out what to do. But I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it at this point. It’s technically, for the next 200 years, not our thing.”

Keven Walker, CEO of the foundation, which manages the eight-county Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, told The Star on Wednesday that the foundation intends to keep the statue in place. He said the foundation stands behind its monuments policy, which says it is “opposed to the wholesale eradication or removal of plaques, statues, monuments, place names and other public honors associated with the history and heritage of the United states.” The foundation also supports laws that forbid state or local governments from removing, damaging or altering monuments and believes that monuments should remain located where they were originally placed.

“We believe that those monuments represent the historic landscape in their own right,” Walker said. “With that said, we want to be responsible and respectful members of our community … And we are in deep and very honest and open discussions with people who are of all frames of mind when it comes to Confederate iconography, including monuments. We are doing a lot of listening right now. And we hope to be able to strike a balance moving forward.”

Walker said the foundation believes that there are currently not enough symbols in the area to recognize the achievements of African Americans or women and that the foundation hopes to rectify that. He also said he would like to see more non-Confederate monuments on the foundation’s property as well as other properties “that reflect more of a totality, a more holistic story of what our history has to tell.” Earlier this year, the foundation tried, but failed, to obtain state funds to build a Shenandoah Valley African American History Center in New Market. The project came under fire over concerns that it didn't have input from African Americans. Walker said the intent was to solicit input before construction started on the project. He previously told The Star that the foundation still hopes to do the project one day.

“We are being open-minded," Walker said. "And we are concerned. Concerned for our country. We are concerned for our local communities. We are saddened by the things taking place in Minneapolis and all over the country. And we do believe that there is a lot of room for improvement in the areas of social justice in the United States. And we want to be a part of moving in a better direction. We don’t believe tearing down Confederate monuments does that. People think that’s divisive and that it does not bring everybody to the table.”

I’m Just Me Movement co-founder Christine “Tina” Stevens, who in November became the first African-American woman elected to Stephens City Town Council, said she would like the community to have a conversation about Confederate monuments and systemic racism. She would like the conversation to explore why Confederate monuments bring so much anger, hurt and pain for some people and why others wish to keep the monuments standing. She said a public forum in which people are able to discuss their feelings on the matter may be an ideal scenario.

"People that are 40-years old, white male, may not be threatened at all by this statue,” Stevens said. “They walk by it every day and it won’t mean anything to them at all, they won’t have a second thought about it. Then you have black people that it invokes feelings of anger. But as a community we have to have these conversations because even if we remove the monuments, we still have the anger that is transferred and not used for constructive building, positive conversations and dialogue. I won’t say that we need to tear it down and I won’t say that we need to keep it. What I will say is that as a community we have to have a conversation about this. Because it’s not all about the monument.”

Williams said the county has no control over the statue until the terms of the 200-year deed have expired.

“Of course, none of us will be here to see that,” Williams said.

For more information about the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, visit www.shenandoahatwar.org or contact 540-740-4545.

— Contact Josh Janney at jjanney@winchesterstar.com

(83) comments

Journey2goremtns1

Frederick county deeded the property to the Battlefield Foundation for 200 years! Unless they cave in to the socialist, CASE CLOSED!

Bryan.the.Nuri

Please define socialism and then show us how it relates to this scenario

Doc Samson

Please define "define" and show us why you need a definition for so many words...

Also, please define what a "Nuri" is since you are "the Nuri", indicating a "thing". Very curious...

Spock Here

Another sunny day and here at home the civil war is being fought again, how it started, why it started, heritage, history, and hooligans galore! Plus a poor Christmas tree and a post or two about a murdered black man, you know, the one that got a knee to the neck for almost 9 minutes...."a criminal." (so, so what?) Along with the "Great Byrd Defamation" from yesterday there hasn't been this much indignation, snowflake throwing, and downright lunacy since the took the flag of rebellion down in Charlotte after the white guy, who posed with that flag, massacred a bible study group in a church.

I do not understand why people cannot see a connection here: This flag, and these generals who fought against the union are indeed a symbol. Of more than 200 years of overt oppression, and over 100 years more of subversive oppression to one segment of our country, and "Our Glorious Southern Heritage" by another (OGSH). I am not clear on why, exactly, the OGHS group cannot understand the oppression angle. The disrespect angle. Respect, what we all want our kids to learn. Teach a big lesson, which would be, "this country does not condone what these generals did, we do not recognize them as "heroes" but as traitors to the United States of America. We reject the idea and do not want to condone the fact that people were enslaved in many parts of this country. We do not want to compound the misery by having statues of these people on display. We can celebrate our heritage, a proud one, in other ways. We understand the south lost. We understand symbols matter. We should not blame those who are disgusted by those symbols. Those symbols have, and continue to, inspire terrible events." To deny that, is to relive history over and over till you win the war. I suspect that's what many of you want, and it's really rather appalling

BenWeber

Since George Washington was an active slave owner, I am happy to take anybodys dollar bills! On a serious note, how will we know if we have gone too far, who will say we have gone too far. Sure, move the statues closer to the museum, but what is next. Rename Jefferson Memorial, remove the Washington Monument…this is not a racial comments, just a question to know how we will know when to stop....perhaps we should ask our Jewish brothers and sisters...things were fine until they weren't

Bryan.the.Nuri

Thank you for completely missing the point to defend a statue that, until today, you forgot about.

ShruggingAtlas

You're missing his point, but all you like to do here is argue and troll people, so it's a waste of time to address you any further.

Ben, the perpetually offended and agitated (look right above this comment for an example), there is no end. They can't possibly live in reality, they want everything their way. Think of them as the Taliban, who also like to destroy statues, culture, and ruin everything for everyone.

Bryan.the.Nuri

yawn

Conservative

"You're missing his point, but all you like to do here is argue and troll people, so it's a waste of time to address you any further..." Most of us figured that out on the first post made.[lol]

Bobbino

Lol...the almighty Nurue!!

Bryan.the.Nuri

This has been long in coming for this statue. It does not deserve a place of public reverence, especially in the middle of town. Relegate it to display in a museum, where it's historical context (and more importantly subtext) can be better explained. There is no need to "keep open the sores of war".

No one is redacting history. All that is happening is that we are reevaluating what should be celebrated in this country.

Steve Cunningham

But it is at a museum!! Unless you stop and read the plaque you do not even know it is a confederate soldier. Find something more worthy to direct your attention to. Maybe help the homeless since their extended shelter season ended this week.

Bobbino

Exactly a museum. Not every family can afford to go and teach their children, so that's stupid!

Bryan.the.Nuri

Are you saying the only place you learned about history was in front of statues?

Ken Kovach

Here’s a bipartisan solution. Remove the pedestal and lower it onto a ground level footer. Turn it 90 degrees to face the North. Add a union statue of equal station across the sidewalk facing South. The two statues would create a powerful entrance to our museum as you walk up the center sidewalk.

Doc Samson

That is a really good idea!

knightowl57

I'm curious, how many posters in this thread are African American?

Conservative

If you are asking about skin color, then say black. There are many Americans who were born in Africa that do not have black skin color. Charlize Theron is a well known African American who has a white skin color.

knightowl57

I'm sure the non-black African Americans have opinions too. They can be included too.

Conservative

Then why do you feel the need to distinguish them with the African prefix? If you were born in America, you're American. If you were born in Africa but are now an American citizen, then and only then should you consider yourself an African American. If you are white skinned, you are white. If you are black skinned, then you are black. Where you come from doesn't really matter, nor does your skin color. But, not all people who are black are African American, and not all white people are American.[smile]

Ken Kovach

I’m curious as to how many posts came from Russia. You know half of the conservative comments are said to be Russian propaganda intended to just add to our divide. With fake names and avatars, the Winchester Star has created a perfect platform for fake posts.

FYI I’m just an old white guy using my real name and saying BLM.

we66

You can see it coming. The next thing will be to remove all statues and monuments of slave holders. Let's see we can get rid of Washington (let's rename the town) Jefferson and many of the founding fathers. The let's rename all the streets and buildings named for slave holders or confederate generals.

The monuments to confederate generals and solders should not be removed. Rather our children need to be told that there were problems in the past and they should try not to replete the problems of the past. Trying to erase the past is a mistake.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Slippery slope fallacy.

Mr Incredible

After the libs in Leesburg rip down their statue, it's just possible one of them might start to wonder who Leesburg is named after. Hahahahahaha

Bryan.the.Nuri

Thomas Lee?

swinsatt

Why not keep it there, but put up a plaque explaining about the history of these statues, who funded them and why. It's already in front of a museum.

knightowl57

@swinsatt And perhaps erect a statue of Nat Turner beside the soldier?

BAB

NO. NO. NO! This is getting beyond ridiculous. We are getting angry now, and believe me, little snowflakes, you don't want that.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Look at the snowflake now angry about a statue...

Bernie Mac

We have entered the Age of Stupidity.

knightowl57

We entered that age in 2016.

Medic455

The liberals of this country have been trying to erase the visions of the sins they created when they first came here, history is just that, history. I have to agree where does it stop? All these snowflakes out there don’t even get taught history so MAYBE they should actually open a book now and then and read about the history of this great country. My feelings are that if you are gonna start ripping statues off the pedestals then that means ALL statues. MLK and Harriet Tubman etc. This issue has NOTHING to do with George Floyd who was a criminal anyway, it has turned into a bunch of uneducated people wanting to destroy even more of America. It’s time for these Liberal woke people to get a real taste of reality instead of demanding every little thing they want.

shinyhappypeople

Yes concentration camps are still there...so that we never forget the horrors of that genocide. But no statues exist to the actual Germans who ran them....because that would be glorifying murderers who aided and abetted WWII Germany. We also have plantations that show what life was like- and now finally are included the inconvenient truth of life for the slaves as well. But statues and honorifics that glorify former confederate soldiers/generals and the like MUST GO- no ifs, ands, or buts. The south LOST THE WAR over a century and a half ago. Since then we’ve invented flight, the automobile, woman gained the right to vote, there are now 50 states, 2 world wars were fought, etc... It’s over. The losers dont get “sprinkles”, because just like the lady says on the Geico commercial, “sprinkles are for winners”. No one is denying history or being doomed to repeat it. It happened. It’s over. The confederacy was defeated and is no more. And we should all be applauding that, not crying over the removal of statues of our shameful ancestry.

Steve Cunningham

It is already in front of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum!! Problem solved. This one was easy!!

Mr Incredible

They'll want to get rid of that next. Someone might accidently wander in there and be offended. The left is NEVER satisfied.

Valerie78

Yes! get rid of them all. kind of ironic to see all these folks complaining about participation trophies. i thought yall didn't like losers getting recognized? maybe it's something about, oh i dunno, what they were fighting for that appeals to you? be honest with yourselves.

davism412

Hear, hear.

Mr Incredible

Please. Tell us what they were fighting for.

Valerie78

do you not live here? i've been here since i was in the 4th grade and just about every field trip i ever too was to some civil war monment/battlefield...explored harpers ferry multiple times as a kid and learned all about john brown and dude has been my hero ever since if you don't know why the civil war happened, i suggest cracking open a history book. or visiting harpers ferry. take a guided tour. why do i have to keep telling yall this stuff? winchester changed more than 70 times during the civil war..if you don't know the answer - LEARN. you're in one of the best places for it (supposedly)

so polite though, cute.

BeTheChange

The Confederate Soldier statue needs to be removed from the Loudoun Street Mall.

An honest review of history clearly reveals that the Confederate cause sought to maintain slavery and promote white supremacy. These are not the values that should ever be honored in America.

The Confederacy, and its soldiers, took up arms against the United States of America. The Confederacy, and its soldiers, fought to maintain enslavement of fellow humans as a way of life. The Confederacy, and its soldiers, sought to promote white supremacy as a natural and moral condition.

Removing this statue dedicated to soldiers who fought for the Confederacy does not remove their role in American history or in the history of the Confederate cause. That said, it also properly does not honor, in a publicly visible area, these soldiers for supporting and pursuing the Confederate cause and fighting to maintain slavery. It is past time for our country to move beyond honoring the Confederate cause, and to recognize that however honorable their soldiers and leaders may have behaved in supporting their cause, the bottom line remains that the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history.

As Americans, we should never honor those who sought to oppress the rights of other humans through slavery.

The Confederate Soldier statue needs to be removed from the Loudoun Street Mall.

Ken Kovach

BeTheChange,

It’s nice to see someone gets it. The statues were not put up for history. They were put up as an underlying statement of tyrannical power over others. Like the chicken that came out of the bunker the other day to crossed the road on the worst possible day, to take a pic holding a Bible. It’s a power play to, “keep people in their place.” The statues of fascist tyrants should and will come down in time and let the time be now.

BLM!

Mr Incredible

Actual history says you don't know what you're talking about http://jimmoyer1.wixsite.com/fortloudounva/single-post/2017/06/04/Confederate-Statue-Winchester-VA

ShruggingAtlas

If you actually knew what you were talking about, the declaration of war was made against the Confederate states, not the other way around. The Crittenden-John resolution declared war on the Confederacy, and no mention of slavery was made in it. Educate yourself!

ShruggingAtlas

Please look up "border states" regarding this issue. They aligned with the Union, practiced slavery, yet not a word from you or anyone else on how that was allowed to be if this war was all about abolishing slavery. Keep in mind that slavery was still allowed, it was not abolished in the Federal Consitution until after the war was over.

Mr Incredible

Shush your mouth with facts!

ShruggingAtlas

I know, it gets tiring! :-P

jimamerican

This and most of the efforts to remove historical monuments that some find offensive exemplify the movement from democracy to anarchy. While I'm not a fan of big government, I favor deliberation and lawful action to the knee-jerk reactions of weak politicians who respond to the mob whim du jour.

Cheddizzle

Where does this end? Mt. Rushmore? Stone Mountain? Museums? Confederate cemeteries? Perhaps we should burn history books? Leave our statues and our Nations rich history alone. It is emblematic of who we were and how far we have come. Celebrate our evolution by acting with respect and civility to all.

slowe

It's waaaaaay past time for it to go. It gives honor to traitors and supporters of slavery and white supremacists. It is a symbol of shame, an embarrassment, of oppression. The Lost Cause is lost and should not be honored with a stature of its protectors and defenders. The South must accept that they lost, they should have lost, we are delighted that they lost, even though they are in denial and continue to try to impose "slavery" by other means. Plant there a big ol' tree, an oak or a sycamore for shade in the summer, with benches.

Bernie Mac

You don't live here. Mind your own business.

Valerie78

oh my. so childish. lol.

Blondie

Shove it, slowe.

Conservative

So sayeth the one who lives among sodomites.

Valerie78

what did you say yesterday .... something about not having anything of substance - only insults?

yall are a hoot.

Conservative

At least some of us share substance some of the time. There are those, like yourself, that share nothing of substance. Just gum flapping.

Valerie78

conservative, the "substance" you've brought (yesterday i think) is a ridiculous claim that swine flu was worse than covid and covid isn't a pandemic. (that ain't substantive btw its nonsensical and very easy to prove untrue) and you've brought that substance with zero (0) facts to back it up (because it isn't true). how ya like that gum flappin?

Conservative

C'mon Valerie, the CDC said the swine flu was a pandemic because it was. It affected an extreme percentage of the population worldwide. The china virus has NOT. It is NOT a pandemic. It is an epidemic. Look up the definitions in the Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Sodomites?

Mr Incredible

There's a nice six block area of Seattle that has been taken over by leftists anarchists (but I repeat myself) that you would love. You should more there. But before you go, you should realize that while there are no statues to hurt your feelings, the anarchists did put up a wall (which I thought the left said was "raaaaaaaaaaaaacist") and have instituted their own "Stop and frisk" policy, which they don't call that because everywhere else they call for that to be abolished. Go ahead, it's a liberal utopia. Make the leap

Mr Incredible

Um, how about "No"? If you don't like it, don't look at it. Who knew when George Orwell wrote 1984, that today's liberal democrats would try and make it come true? " “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped."

TSQ

Well said🎯 Agree 💯💯💯

Bryan.the.Nuri

Not exactly, but have a participation award for trying

bartonbe

We cannot change history. Please leave it alone.

davism412

This is such a tired argument. No one is trying to change history. It's a matter of context. Yes, teach all history--the good, the bad, and the ugly. No whitewashing or obfuscation. But do not place statutes in public places that glorify historical figures who have clearly taken their place on the wrong side of history. It's that simple.

Doc Samson

@davism412 - And if that is what would occur, I think most of us would find that agreeable. The problem is that "the mob" is never satisfied and, after the statues, it would have to be something else. As mentioned elsewhere, are we moving on to removing Washington, Jefferson, et. al. from all buildings, streets, universities, etc.? Where does it end? No one has an answer for that...

Mr Incredible

The snowflakes that attend UVa these days are trying to take down the statue of Jefferson.

Bernie Mac

The statue of Gandhi in London and the memorial to the black Union soldiers in Massachusetts were vandalized. Were they on the "wrong side of history"?

Mr Incredible

No, they were on the wrong side of a liberal "edjumakation" system

farm4u

I agree with you Blondie!

Gary

Sorry, statue, not state.

Gary

How about using statue's location to plant a permanent christmas tree that can be used to celebrate various holidays and events and the tree can also represent life, hope and natural beauty in our world. Move the state to one of the civil war battlefields in our area.

Mr Incredible

And then the next thing you'll hear is that the battlefields are "offeeeeeeeeeeeeeeensive" and must be bulldozed. No, the systematic erasure of history has to be stopped somewhere, and no better place than a town that changed hands over 70 times during the war.

slowe

Gary, a christmas tree would be a Christian Christmas tree! I suggest a big tree, an oak or sycamore or similar for shade with benches , but do not associate it with any religious festivals, please.

Blondie

If they tear down all the statues, I think the Martin Luther King statue should go also.

StellaBob

Explain

Conservative

MLK was not about violence. He was about civil disobedience. He deserves a statue. I don't think we need to be taking down other statues either. People who point out that there are no N_zi monuments seem to forget that many of the concentration camps used by the Na_i's have been preserved and people still visit them. I'm not defending slavery or the N_zi's, those monuments and camps are merely a reminder of the part of history we should NEVER forget, lest we repeat it.

anon

I use to agree with you. Especially your last sentence. I cannot in good conscience anymore. I know too many African Americans have always been deeply offended by the statues.

They are suggesting very reasonable ideas about putting it elsewhere and placing it in context.

.

Conservative

I would also agree to moving the statues to a museum, I understand the feelings they elicit. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

Blondie

But his statue is offensive to me and two others.

Conservative

Then you will look just as ridiculous as the kid who cried about the Byrd School of Business.

Bobbino

So are Ritz crackers I'm not belly aching though. Toughen up butter cup !

bartonbe

I REALLY wish there was a thumbs up and thumbs down in the comment section. Your comment would get a thumbs up for sure. Probably lots of them!!!

Conservative

Why not just say you agree or you like what they said? Why do you need some silly button?[rolleyes]

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