"In 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people, not in 2020," Northam said. "Yes that statute has been there for a long time. It was wrong then and it was wrong now and that's why we are taking it down."
Northam said the state owns the Robert E. Lee statute and not the cities. He ordered the removal of the statute 'as soon as possible'.
The removal comes amid nationwide protests over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd.