West Virginia State Capitol Complex Walking Tour


Stonewall Jackson Statue

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art ()

Overview Listen

On the grounds of the WV State Capitol stands a statue to Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, The artist, Sir Moses Jacob Ezekiel, was commissioned by Daughters of the Confederacy to cast the high-plinth bronze sculpture while living in Rome. Ezekiel was a former Confederate soldier and VMI graduate.

Photos

Photo Jackson statue at southeast corner of Capitol grounds. Photo courtesy of W.Va. Legislative Photography by Perry Bennett
Photo SJ statue inscription, Photo by Jodie Groves, edited by Billy Joe Peyton
Photo Photo from the 2017 protest

Backstory Listen

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was a famous Confederate general, born in what is now Clarksburg, West Virginia in 1824.  He was better known as “Stonewall,” a nickname earned at the First Battle of Manassas in 1861. A graduate of West Point, Jackson taught at VMI before the Civil War.  He died in 1863 after his troops accidentally shot him; following the amputation of his arm he later died of pneumonia. 

The Stonewall Jackson Statue was constructed in 1909 by Moses Ezekiel and was the first statue on the grounds of the former capital in downtown Charleston. When the marble statue was unveiled, the city celebrated with a parade, an event attended by 5,000 people. The statue was funded by the Charleston chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The group intended the statue to honor all West Virginia Confederate soldiers and had another statue built to honor Robert E. Lee. The statue of Jackson was moved to its current location after the original Capitol burned in 1921. A metal replica of the statue stands in the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

After the infamous 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA, about 150 protestors gathered around the statue. The protestors held a vigil for the victims in Charlottesville and called for the removal of the Jackson statue, arguing that it is inappropriate to honor Confederate soldiers at the state’s capital. Counter-protestors were also present on the scene to advocate for the preservation of the statue. After the protest, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said there were no plans to remove the statue. Though the statue is still standing, it remains a controversial issue. 

On June 20, 2019, the 156th anniversary of West Virginia's admission into the Union as a new state, Charleston native Howard Swint stood in front of the Confederate statue and called for its removal citing it as a symbol of hate speech and white supremacy. Swint said other Confederate statues should be removed, as well. Swint suggested the statue be moved to a dark corner of the West Virginia State Museum in the Culture Center and the "12 Years a Slave" film should play in the background to highlight what the Confederacy fought for. He said the statue doesn't represent West Virginian values and those who erected Confederate monuments wanted to divide the nation. 


1900 Kanawha Blvd E
Charleston, WV 25305

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Sources
http://www.jewish-history.com/civilwar/moses_ezekiel.html

Wallace, Jim, A History of the West Virginia Capitol: The House of State. The History Press, 2012.

Steelhammer, Rick. Charleston’s Civil War soldier statues erected with private funds. Charleston Gazette-Mail. August 22, 2017. Accessed February 09, 2019. https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/charleston-s-civil-war-soldier-statues-erected-with-private-funds/article_301056fc-a75d-5bb8-81a3-fd72b1c4015b.html.

McGee, Jatara. Calls to remove W.Va. Confederate statue in wake of Va. unrest. WSAZ. August 13, 2017. Accessed February 09, 2019. https://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Charleston-gathering-to-call-for-removal-of-Stonewall-Jackson-statue-at-WVa-Capitol-440190913.html.

Justice has no plans to remove Jackson statue. Williamson Daily News. August 22, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2019. https://www.williamsondailynews.com/news/justice-has-no-plans-to-remove-jackson-statue/article_dc8e2ffe-67a9-52ad-88a3-92c46b5341da.html.

UPDATE | Calls to remove Confederate statue taken to the W.Va. Capitol. WSAZ News Channel 3. June 20, 2019. Accessed June 23, 2019. https://www.wsaz.com/content/news/Charleston-gathering-to-call-for-removal-of-Stonewall-Jackson-statue-at-WVa-Capitol-440190913.html.

Flatley, Jake. Charleston native calls for removal of Stonewall Jackson statue; “It’s hate speech". WV MetroNews. June 20, 2019. Accessed June 23, 2019. http://wvmetronews.com/2019/06/20/charleston-native-calls-for-removal-of-stonewall-jackson-statue-its-hate-speech/.


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