West Virginia Republicans seek to criminalize removal of Confederate statues

Bill would protect removing or renaming monuments unless first approved by state’s historic preservation center

Nearly 158-years after its founding West Virginia – a state forged from the fires of America’s civil war – remains stuck between north and south. Now lawmakers are considering a bill that would protect Confederate monuments from removal or renaming. Supporters claim they are protecting everyone’s history. Opponents call the bill “traumatic and mentally exhausting”.

At a moment of national reckoning on race, the debate is fierce. “We were the Union. West Virginia was born out of seceding from Virginia, if i’m not mistaken,” said Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, one of the state’s few Black lawmakers. “We’re advocating for people who wanted to kill us.”

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