The 21-foot tall bronze statue, of General Robert E Lee, in Virginia’s capital, was on Wednesday morning brought down. Built-in 1890, the Confederate monument that stood as a viewpoint on Monument Avenue in Richmond was one of the US remaining largest such sculptures after four others were removed by the city last summer.
The area surrounding the statue became “ground zero” during the nationwide protests on racial inequality and social injustice after the brutal murder of African Americans, among them George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis last summer.
This series on the fall of Confederate monuments were prompted by a white supremacists rally in 2017 that broke out into chaos in Charlottesville. Though at the time, Virginias governments were immobilized by a state law protecting memorials to war veterans, the law was later passed and signed by Northam. As of July, 1,2020, the districts had the power to decide on their monuments’ fate.
Governor Ralph Northam( D) who was present during the demolition called the a new dawn and era in Virginia. He had previously ordered the statue’s removal but litigation blocked his orders until the Supreme Court gave authority last week. Northam said any such remnant that glorified the lost purpose of the civil war needed to come down.
Northam has prompted the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to steer a redesign for the entire Monument Avenue. This is seen as part of his promise to dedicate his remaining term to addressing Virginia’s racial injustices following a scandal that erupted against his person in 2019 of a racist photo in his medical school yearbook. With this, Northam is seen to have found himself in the right books yet again.
Large crowds broke out in ju process bilation to the victory for civil rights activists and people of colour alike, who have for year’s call for the removal of the civil war figures statues erected by white supremacists.
The work led by Devon Henry, an African American Executive of the Team Henry Enterprises progressed under heavy police presence as surrounding streets were closed. Henry said the Lee statue presented their most difficult challenge.
Three, two, one!” shouted a Team Henry worker who charged an excited crowd that chanted, “ Whose streets? Our streets! Hey, hey, hey, goodbye,” as excited constructors prepared when withdrawing the statue to a state-owned facility until when the state will decide what to do with it.
Those against the statue’s removal pointed out that Virginia’s rich history would be watered down by losing its closeness to the civil war and its artistic value.
On the other hand, the Black History at Home program argued that the construction of the Lee statue was attached to a perspective that African Americans were not equal members of society. They went ahead to invite residents to think about what a new statue on Monument Avenue could look like.
Workers to removing the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va.