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Posted under: News Politics

Charlottesville Robert E. Lee Statue To Be Melted Down And Repurposed By African American Museum

The museum plans to create a new meaning for the remains of the Confederate leader's statue.

The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will soon be dissolved and turned into a different piece of artwork after a city council ruling, The Washington Post reports.

Known for being a leader in the American Civil War and a supporter of pro-slavery policies, Gen. Robert E. Lee was memorialized in Charlottesville, Virginia, during the 1920s.

Charlottesville City Council voted 4-0 to donate the statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center amid a competition of bidders who took interest in the artifact.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, a Black museum of history, plans to melt down the 1,100-pound figure and give new meaning to it via a "community-based shared project." 

The heritage center hopes that the project, titled "Sword Into Plowshares," will "create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values,” Andrea Douglas, the executive director for the museum, said in a video, according to Yahoo News.

"It is a community-based project that all of the voices of our community will be able to articulate what we want in our public spaces," she continued, The Daily Progress reports.

Douglas said that in the progressive era that society is now witnessing, the statue highlights "a particular ideology that [community members] no longer share."

A meeting is slated to take place on Monday, Dec. 20, to vote on the remaining statues of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Lee’s statute was originally taken down in the summer of 2021 after the monument served as a political influence in the deadly white supremacists "Unite the Right" rally in 2017.

During the rally, James Alex Fields Jr. made headlines for his attack that killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounded 19 others, CBS News reports. He was later convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison.

Symbolic Confederate figures started to be removed in 2020 following nationwide protests against systemic racism, according to NPR.

After the killing of George Floyd and the outrage that followed, 168 monuments were taken down across the country that year.


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