Replace Confederate Statue with Monument of Garland H. White

Replace Confederate Statue with Monument of Garland H. White

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Evan VanDyke started this petition to Mayor Levar Stoney and

As Richmond, Virginia looks to replace the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue with "symbols that represent our city", the municipal government would be remiss to overlook Garland H. White as a figure to memorialize. Commemorating Garland White in a city that was the capital of the Confederacy would be an excellent way to re-contextualize the way that Richmond's Civil War history (specifically with regard to notable figures) has been framed.

Born a slave in Hanover County, Garland H. White was sold at a young age to Robert Toombs. He later escaped enslavement and fled to Canada. He returned to the United States to enlist in the Union army and served as Chaplain of the 28th United States Colored Infantry. White led the 28th USCI when Richmond was first liberated from Confederate control on April 4th, 1865. On that day, Garland White was not only one of the first troops to enter the city, but he was also finally reunited with his mother whom he had not seen since he was sold to Toombs.

In a letter recounting the day of Richmond's liberation, Garland White wrote:

"I have just returned from the city of Richmond; my regiment was among the first that entered that city. I marched at the head of the column, and soon I found myself called upon by the officers and men of my regiment to make a speech, with which, of course, I readily complied. A vast multitude assembled on Broad Street, and I was aroused amid the shouts of ten thousand voices, and proclaimed for the first time in that city freedom to all mankind. After which the doors of all the slave pens were thrown open, and thousands came out shouting...I became so overcome with tears that I could not stand up under the pressure of such fullness of joy in my own heart...”

He continued:

"...Some people do not seem to believe that the colored troops were the first that entered Richmond. Why, you need not feel at all timid in giving the truthfulness of my assertion to the four winds of the heavens, and let the angels re-echo it back to the earth, that the colored soldiers of the Army of the James were the first to enter the city of Richmond. I was with them, and am still with them, and am willing to stay with them until freedom is proclaimed throughout the world."

Leaving Richmond as a slave and returning as a liberator, Garland H. White is a figure who is not only contemporaneous with those who were already enshrined along Monument Avenue, but also someone who truly embodies the values of self-determination, freedom, and patriotism.

Wikipedia - Garland H. White

 

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