One of America’s largest monuments to the Confederacy, the enormous 21-foot statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, was hoisted off its pedestal where it once towered over Virginia’s capital city for over a century.
A crowd erupted cheers as the statue was lifted down to the ground before 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. According to AP News, after strapping harnesses around Lee and his horse, a construction worker raised his arms in the air and counted down till the statue was lifted down, which was met with jubilant shouts from the crowd of hundreds as they watched. After this, the work crew cut the statue into pieces.
This comes as a huge win for civil right activists, who have called for the removal of statues like this one for decades, and black people in general as many saw these statues as a painful symbol that protects the legacy of slavery and reminds us of the slavery that people of color face to this day.
“This was a long time coming, part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” says Gov. Ralph Northam who, along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, made the decision to take down Confederate tributes. The statue was ordered to be taken down last summer; Northam cited the pain felt across the country last summer over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. AP News sates that the democrat said the statue represents “more than 400 years of history that we should not be proud of.”