Proposal to Build New Monument to Honor Black Soldiers at Battle of New Market Heights 

Also at tonight's council meeting: a proposal for local control of Confederate monuments.


It looks like the monuments will be a hot topic at tonight's City Council meeting.

Second District Councilwoman Kimberly Gray will request an appropriation of $5,000 for the startup costs of a new, privately funded monument to honor 14 Medal of Honor recipients from the United States Colored Troops at the Battle of New Market Heights.

Gray notes that the city's Monument Avenue Commission recommended this addition in its 2018 report.

She also told Style that people such as Monroe Harris, president of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' board of trustees, and local activist and social justice advocate Chelsea Higgs Wise will be on the Honor the 14 Foundation that will be raising money for the monument. Gray adds that currently there is no image or concept in place for the monument.

Her proposal comes on the same night that Richmond Councilman Michael Jones will introduce a proposal for local control of the Confederate monuments. As reported by Mark Robinson in The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Jones said “having local control ... is the central – it’s central – to any actionable discussion. We can have no discussion without that authority."

The Battle of New Market Heights, also known as the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, was fought in Henrico County on Sept. 29–30, 1864, as part of the Siege of Petersburg during the Civil War.

Here's more language from a draft of Gray's resolution that will be introduced at tonight's meeting:

To request that the Mayor propose a Fiscal Year 2020-2021 General Fund Budget that provides for a non-departmental appropriation of $5,000 to the Honor the 14 Foundation for the purpose of funding a portion of the start-up costs for the erection of a monument to the 14 Medal of Honor recipients from the United States Colored Troops at the Battle of New Market Heights, and to request that the Chief Administrative Officer cause the City’s Administration to develop and implement a plan to erect the monument upon the donation to the City of the necessary funds collected by the Honor the 14 Foundation.


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