The state capital of Virginia has removed a giant statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in its Monument Avenue on Sept. 8, after over a year since the order of Governor Ralph Northam.
“After 133 years, the statue of Robert E. Lee has finally come down — the last Confederate statue on Monument Avenue, and the largest in the South,” Northam said in a statement.
Northam ordered the removal of the state-owned statue in Richmond in June 2020 amid nationwide protests against racism sparked by the murder of George Floyd while in the custody of white police officers.
“It is time to display history as history, and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future,” Northam said.
Hundreds of people, including Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney, gathered and cheered as workers took down the statue.
“Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy. We are a diverse, open, and welcoming city, and our symbols need to reflect this reality,” Stoney said in a statement.
The removal, which took about an hour, also comes a week after the Supreme Court in Virginia unanimously ruled to allow the statue to come down, following several legal battles including one filed by a descendant of the former owners of the land where the monument had stood.
According to Northam’s office, the 12-ton, six-story statue will be in a “secure storage at a state facility until a permanent, appropriate location is chosen for its display.”
Northam’s office also said that the 40-foot granite pedestal will remain as its future is still being determined.
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