DANVILLE, Va. (AP) — The president of a historical society in Virginia has resigned from his position after racist comments about a statue depicting a Black man posted on his social media account.
Danville Historical Society President Mark Joyner vacated his post Monday, the organization said in a statement to the Danville Register & Bee.
It came a few days after a statement posted on Joyner’s Facebook account called for the removal of Richmond’s Rumors of War statue. The statement said the figure was an “art that represents NO history,” before calling the statue a racist term.
The bronze sculpture installed last year depicts a young Black man with dreadlocks galloping on a horse. It was placed near a display of Confederate monuments in Richmond as artist Kehinde Wiley’s response to Confederate statues throughout the South.
Joyner has denied writing the statement himself. He told the newspaper a friend who borrowed his phone to make a call had accessed his social media account without his permission and wrote the comment Friday.
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When another Facebook user called the statement “very ugly and despicable,” a follow-up comment was posted under Joyner’s account saying it’s “outrageous” to destroy other “works of art from 100 plus years ago” and “rewrite history” for “a race that none of our generation had any control over.”
Joyner told the newspaper that he did not find out about the comments until Saturday. He has not publicly identified the friend who he says wrote on his social media page while visiting him from Tennessee. He told the newspaper he doesn’t have a contact information for the person either.
Another statement on his Facebook account last year said “start shooting that race on sight,” the Danville Register & Bee quotes his post as saying. Joyner said the statement was taken out of context, telling the newspaper “it wasn’t the Black race, it was the race of thugs,” including members of antifa.
The Danville Historical Society, which collects and conserve the city’s historical artifacts, called the comments posted Friday “repugnant.” The organization wrote on Facebook Monday that they aim for inclusion in their mission.
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