Several hundred people gathered on Saturday morning as the statue of Rober E. Lee, the Confederate general, was hoisted off its pedestal and strapped to a waiting truck in Charlottesville, Virginia. The removal was greeted by most of all who had gathered with cheers and expressions of relief by those witnessing it.
Most of the bystanders then streamed over to nearby Court Square park to see city workers remove the statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Hours after the two Confederate generals were removed, a third statue came down, as well. During a special emergency meeting by the Charlottesville City Council and the council’s unanimous 5-0 vote, the Council decided to have the Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagawea statue removed Saturday afternoon. The city tweeted a photo of officials whisking it away just before 2:45 p.m.
The Lewis, Clark and Sacagawea statue was given to Charlottesville in 1919. The Jackson statue has been up since 1921, and the Lee statue was first placed in 1924. They will be stored until the City Council decides to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of them.
It has been nearly four years since the city planned removal of the Lee monument, where white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups stormed the Virginia college town to protest the city’s planned removal of the Lee monument.
The far-right-rally and demonstration over a weekend in August 2017, erupted in violent clashes with counter-protesters, leading ultimately to counter-protester Heather Heyer being murdered when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd.
The most recent removal push focused on the Lee monument began in 2016,thanks in part to a petition started by a Black high school student, Zyahana Bryant, who’s now a student at the University of Virginia. Bryant told the AP today, “This is well over due. No platform for white supremacy. No platform for racism. No platform for hate.”
In this writer’s opinion, regardless of the actions of these men over 150 years ago, these men represent the history of this great country and how much we have progressed since that era, and our past should not be allow to be taken away of forgotten. Knowing our history helps prevent making the same mistakes in the future.