Largest Confederate statue in US set to be pulled down

‘Richmond is no longer the capital of the confederacy. We are diverse, open and welcoming city, and our symbols need to reflect this reality,’ says city’s mayor about decision to remove General Robert E Lee statue

Clara Hill
Tuesday 07 September 2021 20:03
Comments
John Oliver: The Confederacy is America's Jimmy Savile

The largest Confederate statue still standing in the US is due to be brought down, according to reports.

The statue, depicting General Robert E Lee, currently stands on Richmond’s Monument Avenue in Virginia, and it will be removed and taken to a “state-owned facility”. According to reports, the plinth will be left bare for a short period of time.

Its removal comes after Virginia’s Supreme Court rejected two legal challenges to the decision to remove it last week. The court was united in both cases, ruling that statue ought to be removed.

William Gregory, one opponent to taking it down, said that Virginia had vowed to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately protect”. The the second opposing lawsuit, fronted publicly by Helen Marie Taylor, argued the decision violated a joint resolution of the Virginia general assembly from 1889, one year before it was erected over 130 years ago.

Throughout its time on display, it had five other similar statutes nearby of other important figures in the 19th century’s secession movement. However, they have been previously done away with, and the monument to Lee is the last one to be relocated.

“Richmond is no longer the capital of the confederacy. We are diverse, open and welcoming city, and our symbols need to reflect this reality,” Levar Stoney, the city’s mayor of the city said in a statement.

According to The Washington Post, Mr Stoney spearheaded the movement to bring down the other four statues on Monument Way.

The Confederate States of America was a group of 11 states that seceded in 1860, believed to be prompted by wanting to continue to use the labour of enslaved people. After being defeated in the US Civil War in 1965 by the Union forces, it became a part of the country once more.

In a statement, the state’s governor Ralph Northam said: “Virginia’s largest monument to the Confederate insurrection will come down this week. This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a commonwealth.”

Mr Northam initiated its takedown in June 2020, in light of the Black Lives Matter movement that swept across the country last summer. These protests were prompted by Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

Since last year, the statue has become a symbol of protest to racial equality as it is now covered in graffiti and political slogans.

“I mean, it hadn’t come down before. They had all the opportunities in the world,” Lawrence West, a member of the local chapter of Black Lives Matter, told the Associated Press, referring to the Democrats, who have been in power on and off since 2002.

He believes its removal is a result of the group’s work and wants it to become a place “to cultivate all types of connections between different people”.

A livestream of the removal will be available on Facebook and Twitter on 8 September

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in