Just before 9 a.m. on Wednesday (September 8), crews in Virginia took down an imposing statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a historic street in Richmond aptly named Monument Avenue.
Last week, the state Supreme Court made two rulings clearing the way for the 12-ton statue’s removal. Months of intense debate of the statue’s purpose were sparked following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 as the world protested against police brutality.
The nearly one-mile street in Richmond, formerly the capital of the Confederacy, was home to the statue of Lee posed on a horse. Other relics honoring the Confederacy across the state –– and nation –– have been removed including busts of Civil War Confederate leaders in the statehouse.
“It’s electrifying,” Alexcia Cleveland, who went to Monument Avenue to watch the statue be removed, told CNN. “It’s bittersweet. I’m glad to see it down, but I would like to see more progress on issues such as police brutality and housing inequality.”
Watch the statue get removed below.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, was met with legal challenges after announcing plans to remove Lee from the capital’s monument row last June. A group of Richmond residents cited a property deed from 1890 and a state assembly resolution passed in 1889 in legal arguments to keep the statue up.
Arguments that statues honoring Confederate leaders are a form of patriotism cancel out since Confederate states attempted to secede from the Union.