Robert E. Lee Statue To Be Removed

( On Wednesday, the state of Virginia is set to down take a huge statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that stands in the state’s capital, Richmond.

After many months of discussions, debates and argument, the statue — which to many stands as a remaining symbol of the country’s racial injustice — will be removed 130 years after it was first put up. The statue was a tribute to the leader of the South’s Civil War military.

Many Confederate symbols in the South have been removed without much fanfare and without public announcements recently so as to avoid potential unruly crowds. However, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said they were planning to livestream the removal of the statue on social media channels.

The governor’s office first announced its plans to remove the Confederate statue more than a year ago, in June of 2020. That was 10 days after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Two lawsuits were filed by Virginia residents that stalled the removal for more than a year. Last week, though, the state Supreme Court cleared the way for the statue to finally be taken down.

One of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, Patrick McSweeney, said he was notifying the state Supreme Court that he’ll ask for a rehearing. However, requests such as that are hardly ever granted.

The statue is 21 feet high and made of bronze. It shows Lee sitting on a horse on a granite pedestal, and is located in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond. So, not only is the statue of a prominent symbol of racism, but it’s in a very prominent location in Virginia’s capital.

In a news release that was posted on Monday, 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.”

On Tuesday evening, crews began preparing for the removal of the statue by installing some protective fencing around it. It will first be taken down from the pedestal, and then cut into separate pieces so it’s easier to transport.

A day after the statue itself is removed, the plan is to then remove the plaques that are placed at the base of the statue. Officials also say they plan to replace a time capsule they believe to be at the location as well.

Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy for a majority of the Civil War, which is why the Lee statue — and other Confederate statues — sprinkled the entire city. More than 12 other Confederate statues have been removed from city-owned land since Floyd’s death in Minnesota last year.

But, the Lee statue is not only the biggest, it’s the most prominent statue that still paid tribute to the Confederacy. As a result, it’s supposed to draw a pretty large crowd in person, and many more people watching online.