Posted on July 31, 2020

Virginia Military Institute Won’t Remove Confederate Statues or Rename Buildings

Michael Ruiz, Fox News, July 31, 2020

The Virginia Military Institute will not remove Confederate monuments or rename buildings named after Confederate leaders {snip}

Ret. Gen. J.H. Bindford Peay III said the military college, founded in 1839 in Lexington, Va., about 140 miles west of the onetime Confederate capital in Richmond, had a past “intertwined with the history of Virginia and the Civil War.”

“We do not currently intend to remove any VMI statues or rename any VMI buildings,” he wrote in in a seven-page letter addressed to the campus community. “Rather, in the future we will emphasize recognition of leaders from the Institute’s second century.”

While condemning racism as something “we all agree we want to erase,” Peay said some of the statues and monuments were dedicated to people with ties to the school that ran deeper than the Confederacy.

For example, Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, who is depicted in a statue on campus, had also been a professor at the school, fought for the U.S. in the Mexican-American War and was a “military genius,” Peay wrote.

And the college has a monument dedicated to a group of its own cadets – the youngest of whom was 15 years old – who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Battle of New Market in 1864. Its sculptor, Moses Ezekiel, graduated VMI in 1866 — and many of the cadets who fought and died in the battle were his friends.


While the school will not remove its Confederate references, he said, a new focus would emphasize diversity among staff and cadets and that the institute’s Board of Visitors would discuss the issue more at its September meeting.