Tue. Jul 5th, 2022

Charlottesville City Council on Monday decided to donate a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to a local heritage center. The bronze statue is to be melted down and transformed into a new work of art.

The city council on Monday discussed whether to sell the statue, donate it or keep it. In the end, the group voted 4-0 to donate it to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, located in Charlottesville.

In its offer, which was submitted to the city council in October, the center said it would melt the statue around and create “a new public work of art that expresses the city’s values ​​of inclusivity and racial justice.”

“This transformation will be informed by a collaborative and democratic process of community involvement that prioritizes the voices of descendants of slaves and expands the dialogues of race that have taken place locally since 2010,” the offer read. “Using the melted bronze material of this statue in a new way will be a powerful symbol of social change.”

Charlottesville
The Robert E. Lee statue will be removed in Charlottesville on July 10, 2021.

John C. Clark / AP


Although it is not clear what the new artwork will look like, the center aims to select an artist for the project – titled “Swords Into Plowshares” – by 2024 and complete in 2027.

The statue was removed from its pedestal in July, as did two other statues in the city – one by others Confederate Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and another by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark along with their Native American guide Sacagawea.

The Lee statue had been a source of controversy for years. Calls to be removed were renewed in 2017 following the deadly “Join right“rally and in 2020 in the wake of George Floyds death and in the midst of the nation’s showdown with racial injustice.

Meanwhile, only one state away, a statue of former Confederate general and leader of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from the side of a highway in Tennessee Tuesday. It had been on private property since 1997 and was the center of debate for years, The Tennessean reported.

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