The removal of a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee comes almost four years after the tragic events of a “Unite the Right” rally.
156 years after Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, a bronze statue of him has finally been removed in Charlottesville.
The historic moment occurred on Saturday morning July 10 and comes almost four years after the violent events at a “Unite the Right” rally that took place in the city and which killed the counter-demonstrator. Heather Heyer.
“Tearing down this statue is one small step towards the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia and America grapple with the sin of wanting to destroy black people for economic gain,” said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker, as a crane approached the monument.
In addition to General Lee, the statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson has also been deleted. The two will remain on city property until authorities determine what to do with them. There are at least 10 groups that are interested in procuring the statues.
Zyahna Bryant was just a high school student when she pressed for Lee’s monument to be removed in 2016. Her petition, while successful, provoked the white supremacists will quickly file a complaint which led the city to suspend withdrawal plans.
“It’s well overdue,” said Bryant, now a University of Virginia student. “No platform for white supremacy. No platform for racism. No platform for hate.
The Jackson statue was originally installed in 1921, while the Lee statue was erected in 1924. Philanthropist Paul McIntire paid for both statues. Local activists have spent years pointing out how the statues were erected as part of the Jim Crow era in the 1920s and that they represented an attack on black residents of Virginia.
A coalition of activists congratulated the city to move quickly to shoot down the statues.
Watch the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue, below, and read the reactions from the activist community online.