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Richmond City Councilwoman Pushing For Statue To African American Soldiers On Monument Avenue

City Councilwoman Kim Gray
(Roberto Roldan/VPM)

A new Civil War monument is being proposed for Richmond’s Monument Avenue.

City Councilwoman Kim Gray is asking the city to give $5,000 in start up funding to the Honor the 14 Foundation. The group says it plans to raise millions of dollars for a statue memorializing 14 black Union soldiers that fought at the Battle of New Market Heights in Henrico. 

Gray said the sculpture would help Monument Avenue tell a fuller story of the Civil War.

“All of the white [Union] officers were killed, so they took over and fought with so much valor that they were the first colored troops to be recognized with Medals of Honor,” she said. “That’s a part of the story that needs to be told.”

The proposal for a new monument in Richmond comes just a week after artist Kehinde Wiley unveiled a new statue outside of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts titled “Rumours of War.” The statue, which depicts a black man in contemporary clothing on top of a horse, was modeled on the nearby monument to Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart.

Unlike the Rumours of War statue on Arthur Ashe Boulevard, the Honor the 14 Foundation wants its statue to appear directly on Monument Avenue with the sculptures of Confederate leaders.

Gray said the group, headed by McGuireWoods executive Donald E. King, is still figuring out where the statue will go. Meadow and Allison are two streets that have been mentioned among members.

“We’re looking at different intersections, but obviously it would take engineering and review of any intersection for safety and other concerns,” Gray said.

The statue honoring the African American Union soldiers was one of the recommendations made by the Monument Avenue Commission back in 2018.