Toppling the Confederate Legacy of the South

Virginia has finally removed a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee following years of protests.

On September 2, following a year of debate and lawsuits, the Virginia Supreme Court approved the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate General whose image, according to critics, represents white supremacy. Gov. Ralph Northam began fighting for the removal of the statue last year. This was followed by two lawsuits filed by local residents, attempting to block the removal of the statue, citing an 1890 deed granting the statue to the state. Finally, a year later, after having combatted the lawsuits wishing to preserve the state’s history, the Virginia Supreme court approved the removal. “This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth,” said Gov. Northam, following the ruling.

Following the ruling, a work crew was brought in to remove the statue. The crew harnessed the statue and lifted it with a crane. The statue was split into two pieces, the top half of Lee’s body being lifted out first, with the second half, including the horse and the General’s bottom half, being lifted out second. The pedestal, now covered in graffiti from protests in response to the death of George Floyd, will be left in place, while the statue will be transferred to an undisclosed warehouse, where it will be stored until further notice. On the morning of September 8, in Richmond, Virginia, hundreds of people gathered to witness the removal of the 133 year-old bronze statue. The statue, featuring General Robert E. Lee, sitting atop his horse, was removed following a year-long battle in court after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam first proposed the idea in June 2020. It was harnessed to a crane and lifted off of its pedestal while a crowd of protestors greeted the action with songs and Black Lives Matter signs. This is an example of many removed statues across America, including one of General Stonewall Jackson and another of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, both in Richmond, attempting to put an end to racism across the country.