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Hume Memorial vandalized with red paint and graffiti for second time in a week

The area has since been closed off and U.Va. is investigating both incidents of vandalism

<p>The memorial was covered in red spray paint reading "You can't silence us" and "BLM" and has since been closed off with fences and tarps.&nbsp;</p>

The memorial was covered in red spray paint reading "You can't silence us" and "BLM" and has since been closed off with fences and tarps. 

The Frank Hume Memorial Fountain was found vandalized with red paint and graffiti reading "You can't silence us" and "BLM" Monday morning. The area has since been fenced off and covered with tarps. The memorial was last found covered with paint a week prior on April 19 — the University is currently investigating both incidents and will “hold those responsible accountable” according to University spokesperson Brian Coy. 

The incident comes after over 20 students, faculty and community members demanded that the memorial be removed during a listening session that the Committee on Naming and Memorials held Wednesday evening. The committee was created in February to make recommendations on the naming and contextualization of statues, monuments and buildings on Grounds. 

The memorial — also known as the Whispering Wall for its ability to transmit sound from one side of the wall to the other — was erected in 1938 in honor of Confederate soldier and spy and Virginia House of Delegates member Frank Hume and includes an inscription that describes Hume as “a devoted Virginian who served his native state in civil war and legislative hall.”

The statue was funded by John and Howard Hume, Frank’s sons, and has been the subject of mounting criticism because of Hume’s ties to the Confederacy. In February, the Minority Rights Coalition at the University launched a petition calling for its removal. In September, the Board of Visitors voted to remove or rededicate the statue. 

Speakers at the listening session called the memorial a “glorification” of Hume’s life and contributions to the Confederacy, saying that the statue “protects and upholds U.Va.’s foundations of racism and systemic oppression.” Black students who spoke said they felt unsupported by the University, and one caller asked how students “could ever be comfortable at a school that honors white supremacists.” 

In April, the Board of Visitors voted to support recommendations made by the Committee on Naming and Memorials which suggest digital contextualization of memorials and statues on Grounds rather than visual indicators or disruption of the historic landscape, a decision which many have found inadequate

The committee hopes to finalize their recommendation concerning the memorial before the Board of Visitors meeting in June.

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