Confederate Statues Steadily Being Removed

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The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, covered with graffiti before being taken down.
Source: Mobilus In Mobili, “Lee’s Final Days,”, Aug. 28, 2020, Creative Commons license

Devon Henry and his construction company, Team Henry Enterprises, were contracted by Virginia and other states to remove 23 confederate statues to date, including 15 in Richmond, Virginia, alone. [1]

Originally contacted by Virginia to remove the controversial Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue, Henry, who is black, was the only contractor willing to take on the job. Other contractors taking down statues in other cities were threatened and violent protests bubbled up in cities planning to remove statues, making the job dangerous. Henry faced death threats, lost contracts, and allegations of impropriety about the project costs and his past political donations, prompting him to increase security at his home and office, as well as wear a bullet-proof vest and carry a concealed gun. [1] [2]

Henry and his team have removed all of the confederate statues from Monument Avenue except that of A.P. Hill, whose remains are interred under his statue, complicating the removal of the statue. They also oversaw the construction of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia. [1]

While states have moved forward with removing statues, legislation to remove statues in the US Capitol has stalled. HR 3005, which would remove all confederate statues and the bust of US Chief Justice Roger Taney from the Capitol, was passed 285-120 by the US House of Representatives in June 2021, but has not yet been taken up by the Senate. [3]

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC), which maintains a database of confederate memorials, tallied 2,089 Confederate memorials in the United States as of Feb. 1, 2022. “Memorials” include 723 monuments, 741 roads, 201 schools, 104 counties and municipalities, 38 parks, 51 buildings, 22 holidays, 10 military bases, 7 commemorative license plates, 6 bodies of water, and 6 bridges, all tracked on an SPLC map. [4]

As of Feb. 1, 2022, the SLPC reported the removal of 409 Confederate memorials, with another 24 pending. [4]

Discussion Questions

1. Should confederate or other historic statues be removed? Why or why not?

2. What sort of statues should society consider putting up now and in the future? Who or what should we honor? Explain your answer(s).

3. Do the statues represent or misrepresent the country’s history? How?


1. Matt Stevens, “For a Black Man Hired to Undo a Confederate Legacy, It Has Not Been Easy,”, Apr. 17, 2022

2. Sarah Rankin, “Black Contractor Braves Threats in Removing Richmond Statues,”, Oct. 25, 2020

3. Barbara Sprunt, “The House Votes To Remove Confederate Statues In The U.S. Capitol,”, June 29, 2021

4. Southern Poverty Law Center, “Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy (Third Edition),”, Feb. 1, 2022