As people of faith, we are committed to the belief that we cannot be in right relationship with God until we find right relationship with our neighbor. Yet as Americans, we believe that all Americans have equal claim on their birthright of equal justice under the law; our public monuments must therefore be a reflection of the values and ideals we uphold.
from the project summary, windows committee

Removal & Donation to Smithsonian NMAAHC

Official Announcement of Lee-Jackson Windows Removal

From September 2017. “After considerable prayer and deliberation, the Cathedral Chapter voted to immediately remove the windows. The Chapter believes that these windows are not only inconsistent with our current mission to serve as a house of prayer for all people, but also a barrier to our important work on racial justice and racial reconciliation.”

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Announcement of Windows Donation to Smithsonian

“Washington National Cathedral today announced that a stained glass window commemorating Confederate General Robert E. Lee has been loaned to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture as part of a temporary exhibit that examines the legacy of Reconstruction and the Lost Cause narrative.”

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Announcement of Smithsonian Exhibit Opening

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will debut a new exhibition Sept. 24 exploring an often-overlooked period of history, the Reconstruction era. “Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies,” featuring more than 175 objects, 300 images and 14 media programs, will be on view through Aug. 21, 2022.

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Initial Windows Task Force and Public Discussion

Task Force Response

From June 2016. After detailed research, careful deliberation, and prayerful discernment, the five-­member Task Force submitted its report and recommendations to the Chapter.

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"Monuments Speak" Public Conversation

From October 2016. The Cathedral’s first public conversation focused on the Lee-Jackson windows. Speakers reflected on their historical and current context, and respond to the Cathedral’s decision to remove the image of the Confederate flag while retaining the full windows during this interim period.

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Timeline, 1931–2021

  • 1931

    Discussions begin about ways to honor Robert E. Lee at the Cathedral

  • 1947

    The United Daughters of the Confederacy is engaged to help memorialize Lee at the Cathedral in the nave (main level) of the Cathedral, and suggest Stonewall Jackson as the second figure to be represented in the memorial

  • 1948

    The United Daughters of the Confederacy decline to participate in the Lee memorial, citing concerns about cost and who would be portrayed alongside Robert E. Lee

  • 1949

    The United Daughters of the Confederacy agrees to help raise funds for the Lee memorial

  • 1952

    James Sheldon, a Cathedral donor, agrees to pay half of the cost of the Lee memorial as a “damn Yankee” to help reunite North and South

    Contract signed for the creation of the Lee and Jackson windows at a cost of $4,600

  • 1953

    Lee and Jackson windows are installed and dedicated

  • 2015

    After the massacre at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., then-Dean Gary Hall calls for the windows to be removed

    A committee is formed to study the issue and make recommendations

  • 2016

    The Cathedral Chapter accepts the findings of the committee report but goes further and orders the removal of the Confederate battle flag from both windows

  • 2017

    Following the deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., the Cathedral Chapter orders the windows deconsecrated and removed

  • 2021

    The Robert E. Lee window is displayed at an exhibit in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture

    Artists Kerry James Marshall and Elizabeth Alexander agree to design replacement windows and carved inscriptions for the former Lee-Jackson bay