Respect Equality

Iconic Robert E. Lee statue comes down

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The statue of Robert E. Lee stands on the ground after it was lowered from its pedestal at Robert E. Lee Memorial during a removal September 8, 2021 in Richmond, Virginia. The Commonwealth of Virginia is removing the largest Confederate statue remaining in the U.S. following authorization by all three branches of state government, including… Alex Wong/Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • Statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee was removed Wednesday after a court decision.
  • Gov. Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring spearheaded the removal.
  • Multiple statutes gesturing to the U.S.’s history of slavery were removed in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.

Just days after a major court decision that allowed the Robert E. Lee statue that crowned Richmond, Va., to be removed, the controversial statue has finally been removed as of Wednesday morning.



The monument of Lee, a major Confederate general during the U.S. Civil War, was one of the many statues that caught national flack amid the Black Lives Matter protests, which pointed out the monument’s apparent idolization and celebration of historical figures connected to slavery.

Various statues of Confederate war heroes, Christopher Columbus, and Texas Rangers have all been removed amid the U.S.’s racial reckoning in 2020.

Proponents of the statue’s removal, notably Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), said the move was a show of support to Virginians of all backgrounds and races.

“Step by step, Virginia is building a more inclusive future—where the Commonwealth glorifies the Confederacy no longer,” Northam said on Twitter.

Northam announced that the statue would be removed from the state’s capital city in June 2020, and was met with lawsuits and injunctions from opposing groups. Last week, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in the favor of Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring.

“Today is a historic day in Virginia,” Herring wrote. “We can now turn the page to a new chapter in our Commonwealth’s history and continue the process of making Virginia a more open, welcoming, fair, and just place for everyone.”

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