The American city of Richmond removes a now-controversial statue of General Robert E. Lee. He fought during the American Civil War in the nineteenth century for the southern states (Confederacy) who wanted to preserve slavery. More and more Confederate historical monuments are disappearing from the American street scene.
The statue is 12.2 meters high and is currently the largest Confederate statue in the United States. It’s going down on Wednesday, 131 years after the placement. That’s possible because last week the Supreme Court ruled that the monument may be removed after opponents tried to overturn the governor of Virginia’s decision on this.
Democratic governor Ralph Northam decided to remove the statue last year, ten days after George Floyd’s death. The black American was killed during his arrest by a white cop. At the statue of General Lee, Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police violence were held after Floyd’s death.
“Our public memorials are a symbol of who we are and what matters to us,” said Northam after the court’s ruling. “If we honor leaders who fought for a system that enslaved people, we honor a lost cause that has burdened Virginia for too many years.”Also, according to Mayor Levar M. Stoney, it is time for the statue to disappear. “We are a diverse, open and welcoming city and our symbols must reflect that reality,” he says.
Several cities have brought down Confederate images in recent years. Last July, the statue of General Lee in the city of Charlottesville was removed. Against that statue was demonstrated in 2017, in which one of the participants was killed by a right-wing extremist. The perpetrator has been sentenced to life imprisonment.