Charlottesville Set To Remove Robert E Lee Statue That Sparked Rally
The statue of General Robert E Lee and a nearby statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson will be moved to storage, local officials say.
Plans to remove the Lee statue prompted a white nationalist rally that turned deadly in August 2017.
A counter-protester was killed amid a national debate over race.
Hundreds of statues of Lee, Jackson and other famous figures of the Confederacy – the southern states that revolted against the federal government – exist all throughout the US.
But to others, they serve as an offensive reminder of the country’s history of slavery and racial oppression.
The 2017 protests in Charlottesville were triggered by the city council’s decision to remove a statue of Lee.
The resulting “Unite the Right” rally saw the death of 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer when she was struck by a car. The driver was later sentenced to life in prison.
The city had continued to push for the removal of the statue after the protests, but was prevented from acting by legal action and changes to the law.
But in April, Virginia’s highest court ruled the statue could be taken down.
Charlottesville has set up viewing areas so people can gather to watch the statues come down early on Saturday morning.
Take ‘Em Down CVille, a group which has campaigned for the statues’ removal, applauded news of the plans.
“No one believes that removing the statues will end white supremacy but this is an important step – and one long past due,” it said.
City officials say the statues will be held in a secure location until the council decides where to relocate them.
Local officials have said they plan to redesign the park spaces where the statues are located “in a way that promotes healing and that tells a more complete history of Charlottesville”.