The city of Charlottesville, Va., has taken down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, marking the end of a years-long effort to have it removed.
Videos shared to social media showed the statue being hoisted off its stone base Saturday morning, with some in the crowd cheering as it was removed from the pedestal.
Statue is off its pedestal, less than an hour after they started working to remove it. pic.twitter.com/eq8kSeWqBx— Teo Armus (@teoarmus) July 10, 2021
The city announced Friday it would remove the statue, which was at the site of the 2017 “Unite the Right” white nationalist rally that resulted in the death of a counterprotester.
A second statue — one of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson — is also scheduled to be removed.
Preparations to remove the Lee statue began Friday. The base of the statue will be removed at a later time.
The Robert E. Lee statue has been removed from Market Street Park. pic.twitter.com/B1ex7IHp61— Charlottesville City (@CvilleCityHall) July 10, 2021
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said in a speech that taking the statue down is a step toward helping the city and country "grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain," The Associated Press reported.
In 2019, a Virginia judge issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the removal of the statues, arguing that state law prohibits removing war materials.
The Virginia Supreme Court later tossed that ruling, allowing the city to decide for itself whether to take down the statues. The Charlottesville City Council voted last month to remove the statues.
The city said it has received interest from 10 organizations in acquiring the statues, four of which are in Virginia and six of which are out of state.