Nearly a century after the last Confederate statue was erected on Monument Avenue, a crowd massed Tuesday beneath gray skies and drizzle at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley’s response: a muscular, triumphant African American astride a horse, looking defiantly to the sky.
They cheered and held phones aloft, hoping to snap keepsakes of “Rumors of War” as handlers tugged on a tarp that, bogged down by rain, clung to the statue’s dreadlocks.
Minutes passed, but Richmond’s All City High School Marching Band played on. The majorettes twirled their batons. Organizers welcomed the thousand-plus attendees inside VMFA, but most waited outside in the rain.
“Pay attention, y’all,” said Richmond resident Rameek Gordon, 41, while streaming the event on Facebook Live. “This is history. It’s coming down, y’all.”