Statue of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson

Item

Legacies Classification
Memorial Artwork
Memorial Type
Sculptural Memorial
Memorial Context
Title
Statue of Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson
Background and Context
The statue was created by Moses Ezekiel, VMI alumni who fought with the Corps of Cadets of the Battle of New Market in 1864. Ezekiel also sculpted Virginia Mourning Her Dead at VMI and numerous Lost Cause statues located elsewhere in the U.S. The statue commemorates the legacy of "Stonewall" Jackson, VMI professor from 1851-1861, Confederate general, and icon of the Lost Cause. The statue was placed at VMI on the edge of the Parade Ground in 1912 and shortly thereafter the 1848 Cadet Battery was relocated to the foot of the Jackson statue. Across a footpath behind the statue is "Old Barracks" and the Jackson Arch.

The Jackson Statue at VMI represented the continuation of the Lost Cause cultural tradition that has been pervasive in the South. The placement of the statue, with Jackson overlooking his former command, the cadet battery, symbolizes both Jackson's antebellum role as an instructor of artillery at VMI and his dedication to the pro-slavery Confederate cause during the Civil War. From at least the mid-twentieth century until about 2019, tradition at VMI dictated that cadets turn and salute the statue when passing by, paying continual homage to the Confederate hero. After racial integration in 1968, some Black cadets resisted this tradition during the 1970s, underscoring the Lost Cause implications of the statue and its associated traditions.

In December 2020, the statue became a subject of intense controversy amidst national media coverage of the racial climate at VMI and the institute's neo-Confederate traditions. Consequently, the statue was removed from the Parade Ground by the Board of Visitors, against the wishes of the superintendent, and was eventually relocated to VMI's Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market where it currently resides.
Physical Description
The Statue is bronze on a marble base. It depicts Thomas J. Jackson. Known as Stonewall Jackson. He is holding his saber and looking onto the parade deck of VMI where he used to be a professor.
Memorial Inscription
"The Institute will be heard from today"
Creator/Participating Person(s)
Date created, installed or dedicated
1912
Date Modified
7 December 2020
Funded by
Moses Ezekiel paid for the statue when it was donated to VMI in 1912.
Location: Institution, City, State

Position: 95 (9 views)