RICHMOND, Va. — Yesterday, Gov. Glen Youngkin’s appointee to the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, Ann Hunter McLean, resigned after her erroneous justifications for the preservation of Confederate monuments and memorials – symbols of hate and white supremacy – became known.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff and Culture Lecia Brooks:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) welcomes the resignation of an appointee whose statements and writings endorsed the Lost Cause and disregarded the true meaning behind the idols and images that define the Confederacy.
“The SPLC had written to Gov. Youngkin last week urging him to reconsider and rescind the appointment. In our letter we argued that McClean’s public statements about the Civil War showed a lack of historical understanding, which proved she was not qualified to sit on this prestigious board.
“The Lost Cause narrative is not up for debate. History confirms that the Civil War was fought to maintain chattel slavery, with approximately 750,000 American lives lost in the wake of the Confederacy’s treasonous acts. The appointee seems to have misunderstood the darkest chapter of our collective American story and how it can be fairly remembered and commemorated.
“It is no accident that for the past two years, Virginia has courageously led the nation in removing racist Confederate symbols from public property. We encourage Gov. Youngkin to appoint someone who will continue allowing communities to make their own decisions about what they want to see in their public spaces while telling the truth about the harms the Civil War caused – the aftereffects of which are still felt today.”
In February 2022 the SPLC released the third edition of its Whose Heritage? report, data, and map, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the United States. The report shows that more than 2,000 Confederate memorials are still publicly present in the U.S. and over 700 of those are monuments.