Statue honoring black Lynchburg leader planned for site of recent destructive protest

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — At one point, the city of Lynchburg could have removed a monument to Confederate General Jubal Early.

“Back in the early 2000s, a traffic accident knocked the monument askew to say the least,” said NAACP President Carl Hutcherson, a former mayor of Lynchburg, who was on the City Council at the time. “The city made the decision to re-erect the statue.

No confederate monuments in lynchburg have been removed.

“Periodically, you hear individuals who will speak out and call for that,” said Ted Delaney, the Director of the Lynchburg Museum System

Hutcherson said while the symbolism of the statues causes pain for many, it may not be practical to remove them

“You can’t tear everything down and at the same time, get ready to build something up.”

That something he’s referring to is a statue honoring “Teedy” Thornhill, Lynchburg’s first black mayor.

“Oh I feel good,” said Hutcherson. “He was my cousin. So I feel real good, and he deserved it. He was an iconic Civil Rights figure.”

Its location is the roundabout at Fifth and Federal, a historically black neighborhood and the site of recent protests.

“I picked up on that,” said Delaney, “the amazing coincidence right away of the fact that this monument, this statue to Mayor Thornhill had been planned for this circle, this roundabout for years, and it just so happened that the restaurant right on the corner, literally adjacent to the spot, happened to be the sight of the protest.”

He added, “I think it’s really powerful that all of this is happening in that place.”

WFXR reached out to the Fifth Street Community Development corporation, the group behind the statue, for an estimated completion date. We will update the story as we learn more information.

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