Washington, D.C.’s National Cathedral has over 230 stained glass windows, two of which celebrate the Civil War with images of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The United Daughters of the Confederacy installed the windows in 1953.
Due to political tensions stemmed from the violent demonstrations at a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12, 2017, the staff at the National Cathedral are considering two options: to remove the windows or contextualize them.
In an interview with NBC4, National Cathedral spokesman Kevin Eckstrom said, “We’re looking at both to see which one makes the most sense for this cathedral, but one thing is for sure: Those windows won’t remain in their current place in their current context. Something is going to change.”
Previously, the church planned to make the decision by the summer of 2018, but the decision is expected to be made sooner.
This isn’t the first time the 8-foot-by-4-foot windows have stirred up debates. In June 2016, NPR reported that the National Cathedral planned to remove two images of the Confederate battle flag from the windows. The flags were replaced with plain glass and paid for by private donors.
While some of the organizations responsible for these memorials around the D.C area are working to change or remove them, civilians are also advocating for their removal. In August 2017, Robin Bell of Bell Visuals projected the image of scissors and a dotted line at the base of the Albert Pike Confederate statue near D.C.’s Judiciary Square. The words, “Remove racism above line,” were also projected there.
A group of D.C. officials, including Councilmember David Grosso and D.C.’s delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton, have also called for the statue’s removal, according to WTOP. The statue was erected in 1898.
In Rockville, Maryland, a statue of a Confederate soldier was relocated to White's Ferry, a privately run Potomac River ferry named after a Confederate general, in July 2017.
• National Cathedral to Remove or 'Contextualize' Confederate Stained Glass Windows [NBC4]
• National Cathedral Will Remove Confederate Flags From Stained Glass Windows [NPR]
• Disputed DC statue raises questions about public symbols [WTOP]
• Rockville relocates Confederate statue [Curbed DC]
• Anti-Trump messages projected on D.C. hotel, Newseum, Confederate statue [Curbed DC]
• Confederate monuments about hate, not heritage, say scholars [Curbed]