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Future of Controversial Confederate Statue Unclear After Latest Crash

A driver in Alexandria may have inadvertently contributed to a long-running fight to get the Appomattox statue commemorating Confederate soldiers removed from its pedestal.

Someone crashed into the statue at the intersection of S. Washington Street and Prince Street this weekend, Alexandria police confirmed to ALXnow.

“The statue was damaged by a vehicle at approximately 2 a.m. Saturday morning,” said APD spokesman Lt. Courtney Ballantine via email. “The Daughters of the Confederacy (owners) were notified and will make any necessary repairs.”

The base of the statue is cracked, with the statue itself now unevenly aligned, photos show. It is not the first time the statue has been damaged by a car — in 1988, a crash completely toppled the statue.

The statue was installed in 1889, during a time when streets throughout the South were renamed after Confederate leaders and statues were installed as a campaign of oppression against black residents. The statue was meant to symbolize a burial of hatred and conflicts from the Civil War, according to Alexandria Gazette articles from the time, but things didn’t really turn out that way.

Across several mayors and city councils, Alexandria has repeatedly expressed its desire to have the statue taken down, but a law passed by the state legislature in 1998 prohibits local governments from altering monuments to wars and veterans. Any movement of the statue would require the support of the statue’s owners, the Daughters of the Confederacy.

Mayor Justin Wilson said the weekend’s crash does not impact the state law governing the city’s inability to remove it.

“That being said, our staff is assessing the safety of the statue and conferring with the Daughters of the Confederacy as to next steps,” Wilson said.

Hat tip to Drew Hansen

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