Posted on February 26, 2020

Virginia Lawmakers Pass Bill Ending Lee-Jackson Holiday

Associated Press, February 24, 2020

Amid an ongoing debate about how Virginia should acknowledge its Confederate history, state lawmakers passed a bill Monday that scraps a 116-year-old state holiday honoring rebel generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The House approved legislation that had already cleared the Senate, advancing the measure to Gov. Ralph Northam, who supports it. The bill designates Election Day as a state holiday instead.

“Voting is our most fundamental right as Americans — and it is past time we stopped celebrating men who worked actively to uphold the system of slavery,” Northam said in a statement. {snip}

Lee-Jackson Day, established in 1904, is observed annually on the Friday preceding the third Monday in January. It honors the Confederate generals, both native Virginians.

For a time, the holiday was combined with the one celebrating civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but the holidays were split in 2000.


Democrats are also advancing measures that would authorize local governments to remove or relocate Confederate monuments on public property.


In Richmond, one of the nation’s most prominent displays of Confederate statues stands along famed Monument Avenue. A sculpture of a young black man with dreadlocks was created in response, and was recently installed nearby with great fanfare.