Charlottesville Robert E. Lee statue to be melted down to create ‘art that will reflect racial justice’
The Charlottesville, Va. city council on Tuesday unanimously approved a move for its now-infamous statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee to be melted down to create public artwork that will “reflect racial justice,” The New York Times reported.
The city council will give the statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, which plans to melt the monument to create a new piece of public artwork, according to the measure.
The city council selected the Jefferson School’s proposal “Swords Into Plowshares,” from other potential bidders for the statue, according to The Times.
According to its Indiegogo campaign page, the Jefferson School plans to “transform a national symbol of white supremacy into a new work of art that will reflect racial justice and inclusion.”
“It is a community based project that all of the voices in the community will be able to articulate what we want in our public spaces, as opposed to objects that were given to our community that highlighted a particular ideology that we no longer share,” Jefferson School center executive director Andrea Douglas said.
The program also said Charlottesville residents will be able to “participate in forums to help determine how the social value of inclusion can be represented through art and public space” during the six-month engagement process.
The city council decision comes four years after the deadly Unite the Right rally, during which scores of white nationalists entered Charlottesville to protest the initial removal of the statute. The rally resulted in the death of a counter-protester after an Ohio man plowed his vehicle into the crowd.
A Virginia Supreme Court ruling in April allowed the city to remove two statues of former Confederate generals, including Lee’s.