A collection of Confederate monuments, markers and weaponry that has long stood outside the courthouse in Fairfax County, Virginia, is no longer on display.
Fairfax County Commissioner Jeff McKay confirmed the county has removed and will relocate the items in a tweet earlier this month.
In a follow-up tweet, McKay revealed their immediate fate: A Virginia Department of Historic Resources marker will be returned to the state, a John Quincy Marr monument will be given to the Stuart Mosby Historical Society, and the Dahlgren howitzers – a type of gun used for firing shells – will be given to Manassas National Battlefield Park.
“We started today with a Fairfax County that better reflects our values,” McKay said.
The relocation of the items occurred thanks to state legislation that passed earlier this year allowing Virginia localities to decide what to do with any monuments or memorials pertaining to war veterans, including those tied to the Confederacy. The bill came aside a nationwide reckoning with regard to the nation’s history and how southern states continue to pay tribute to the Confederacy in public spaces.
That bill requires publication of a public hearing in at least one local newspaper, followed by the hearing itself.
Should that hearing lead to removal, the locality then is required to open a 30-day window to first offer the item for “relocation and placement to any museum, historical society, government, or military battlefield,” the measure says. After those 30 days - whether there is interest in the monument or memorial, or not - “the local governing body shall have sole authority to determine the final disposition” of the item, the bill says.
That legislation was a priority for Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, his spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky told CNN last March, as he “has long advocated to give localities’ authority over the monuments in their communities.”