Charlottesville demolished the Robert E. Lee statue that triggered the 2017 violent rally
On Saturday, a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, was hoisted from a prominent location in Charlottesville and transported to a warehouse. A few years later, it threatened to be demolished and became a gathering of white supremacists Point and inspired them in a violent rally in 2017, which left one woman dead and dozens injured.
The removal of the statue of General Robert E. Lee began in the early hours of Saturday morning. The staff also demolished the statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Dozens of spectators lined up in a row in the blocks surrounding the park. When the Li statue rose from the pedestal, cheers rang. There is an obvious presence of police, the streets are blocked by fences and heavy trucks, and vehicles are impassable.
As the crane approached the monument, Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker spoke in front of reporters and observers.
Walker said: “The removal of this statue is a small step closer to helping Charlottesville, Virginia and the United States overcome the criminal goal of destroying blacks for financial gain.”
After years of controversy, community pain and lawsuits, the statue was removed. A long and tortuous legal battle, coupled with changes in state laws protecting the war memorial, delayed the demolition for many years.
Nearly four years after violence broke out in the infamous “Unity Right” rally, the statues of Lee and Jackson were demolished on Saturday.The peaceful counter-protester Heather Heyer was killed in the violence, which sparked a national debate on racial equality. President Donald Trump’s insistenceThere is no “both parties are responsible.”
As couples, families with children, and activists watch from the surrounding neighborhoods, the work seems to be going well and fairly easy. As the workers progressed, the crowd chanted and cheered intermittently. When a pair of musicians played hymns in the church near the statue of Li, the music floated on the street.
There were at least a few people who opposed the removal, including one who questioned the mayor after the mayor’s speech, but no obvious, organized protesters were present.
Ralph Dixon, a 59-year-old black man born and raised in Charlottesville, was documenting the demolition work on Saturday morning, with a camera hanging around his neck.
Dixon said he was taken to the park where the Li statue was when he was a school-age child.
“All teachers, no matter what, my teacher is always talking about what a great person this is,” he said.
He said that as he grew up, his understanding of Li’s legacy and statue information continued to develop. He said that it is important to consider the background of the Jim Crow era when the statue was erected, especially after Haye’s death, there is no reason for the statue to remain.
“This must be done,” he said.
Only the statues, not their stone bases, will be removed on Saturday. They will be stored in a safe place until the city council makes a final decision on what to do with them. According to state law, the city must solicit parties interested in buying the statue during the offer period that ends on Thursday. It received 10 responses for comments.
A coalition of activists praised the city for taking swift action to remove the statue after the offer period ended. The coalition called Take’Em Down Cville stated that as long as these statues “still stand in public places in our downtown, it shows that our community tolerates white supremacy and the lost cause of which these generals are fighting”.
Jim Hansen, who lives in nearby Barbersville, said on Saturday that he had come to witness a “historic” event. He said he has no strong personal opinion on the issue of the Confederate monument, but he thinks Charlottesville is happy to see the end of the legend.
“Good atmosphere, good atmosphere, good energy,” he said.
The most recent removal of the Lee Monument began in 2016, thanks in part to a petition initiated by a black high school student Zyahna Bryant.
“It should be long ago,” said Bryant, who is now a student at the University of Virginia.
“There is no platform for white supremacy. There is no platform for racism. There is no platform for hatred.”
Charlottesville City Council member Kristin Szakos, who witnessed the removal of these statues, said, “People in this community have been trying to remove these statues for a hundred years.”
She added: “I think we are finally ready to become a community, it will not convey our view of white supremacy through our public art.”