Rallies cancelled at Confederate statue in Loudoun Co.

Two rallies planned in support of a Confederate soldier statue in Leesburg have been abruptly cancelled in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville.

LEESBURG, VA (WUSA9) - Two rallies planned in support of the Confederate soldier statue in Leesburg have been abruptly cancelled. 

But the Loudoun County NAACP is preparing a counter protest if the pro-confederate rally ever does take place.   

The 20-foot high bronze soldier, rifle clutched in his right hand, has a serious stare forward as he stands guard on the grounds of the Loudoun County Courthouse. Hair pokes out of his worn hat, but he's proud wearing the Confederate uniform.

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"It's a beautiful statue. But it needs to be where its relevant, not in downtown Leesburg where there were no battles. No one killed," said Phillip Thompson, president of the Loudoun County NAACP.

Several passersby told WUSA9 that taking the statue down would be like erasing history.  

"We can't rewrite history by removing statues," said Rebecca Elliott of Leesburg. 

"Its not like you're erasing history. What you're erasing here is White Supremacy," said Thompson. 

An inscription at the statue's base reads, "In memory of the rebel soldiers of Loudoun County.  Erected May 28, 1908."   

It was nearly a half a century after the Civil War ended. And the same time as Jim Crow laws were put in force.  

The statue does mark the courthouse square which was used as a place to buy and sell slaves. 

"There's was no battle here, so there's really no history to erase here.  All this is is a monument to white supremacy. Is was put in 1908, long after the war was over."

"After 1829, when the slave trade was restricted coming out of Africa, Virginia became a new Africa.  And the whole term 'down the river,' down to other parts of the deep south."

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Thompson says the statue is a symbol of white-washed history, with no mention of the union soldiers and 300 African American soldiers from Loudoun County who fought on behalf of the Union. 

Thompson was in Charlottesville on Saturday training for their own counter protest in Leesburg. The group came away with many lessons. 

One is that they will dress up, similar to Martin Luther King Jr. marches, and have no confrontation whatsoever with the pro-confederate people.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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