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On the chopping block

Government officials and others in the South dismantle memorials to the Confederacy

Protesters walk away from the Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond. Dean Hoffmeyer/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

On the chopping block
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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans to take down the state-owned monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the capital city of Richmond. Mayor Levar Stoney is pushing for the removal of four other statues of Confederate leaders along the city’s historic Monument Avenue. Demonstrators have covered all five statues in graffiti during protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. “I believe in a Virginia that studies its past in an honest way,” Northam, a Democrat, said. The city of Norfolk, Va., meanwhile, planned to take down its 80-foot monument to the Confederacy in July. In Alexandria, Va., the United Daughters of the Confederacy dismantled a memorial to soldiers that had stood in a city intersection for 131 years. And in Birmingham, Ala., city officials removed a Confederate obelisk from its base after protesters attempted to take it down.


The last person to receive a U.S. Civil War pension has died at age 90. Irene Triplett’s father, Mose Triplett, joined the Confederate army in 1862, deserting to a Union regiment two years later. He married Irene Triplett’s mother in 1924 and died in 1938 at age 92. His pension of $73.13 a month, according to The Wall Street Journal, has been going to his daughter. Triplett grew up in North Carolina, poor and struggling. She told the newspaper that she was beaten by parents and teachers, lived in a poorhouse, and during these last years needed her father’s pension to help pay for retirement homes. She died in North Carolina from complications after a surgery.


Archaeologists uncovered an ancient Roman mosaic in northern Italy. The art was the floor of a Roman villa found near the city of Verona. Scholars discovered the villa almost a century ago, but this mosaic was uncovered only after a team set out to outline the exact perimeters of the ancient building. They were digging through a vineyard in a hilly area when they discovered the mosaic. Its tiles, patterns, details, and colors are almost perfectly preserved, captured in photos posted by the town leaders. The town will work on uncovering the mosaic completely and preparing it for viewing by the public.


A new report on joblessness offered hope the United States has seen the worst of the economic blows from the coronavirus shutdowns. Unemployment fell to 13.3 percent in May from 14.7 percent in April, according to a U.S. Department of Labor report released on June 5. The improvement in unemployment came alongside an equally encouraging May jobs report. Defying economists’ predictions, U.S. employers added 2.5 million jobs last month. The report suggests thousands of businesses moved quickly to reopen and begin hiring as states lifted coronavirus-related restrictions. The number of new applications for unemployment benefits also had declined for nine straight weeks.


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