The colossal bronze of Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, honoring the normal who led the South towards the Union Military in the US Civil Conflict, had grow to be an unlikely web site of pilgrimage. For the hate teams that uphold its white supremacist legacy, Lee’s likeness is an aspirational image. However for Black Lives Matter activists, the statue’s reclamation and transformation final yr – by means of graffiti, projections, performances, and different activations — marked a historic second in the nation’s reckoning with racial violence.
As of this morning, September 8, the 60-foot statue will now not tower over Richmond’s Monument Avenue. In videos shared on-line, a crane hoisted the large equestrian sculpture from its pedestal as crowds chanted, “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!”
“After 133 years, the statue of Robert E. Lee has finally come down — the last Confederate statue on Monument Avenue, and the largest in the South,” stated Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in an announcement. “The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people. It is time to display history as history, and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future.”
Final summer time, throughout historic protests prompted by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and different Black people by police and vigilantes, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the removing of a number of Confederate statues on the boulevard.
However the Lee monument stayed put. Although Governor Northam had introduced its removing over a yr in the past, separate lawsuits filed by a gaggle of Richmond residents who personal property close by and by William Gregory, a descendant of signatories to the 1890 deed for the statue, stalled the motion in courtroom. Final Thursday, the Virginia Supreme Court docket voted unanimously in favor of taking down the sculpture.
One other infamous monument to Lee was additionally dismantled this summer time: a statue of the normal whose deliberate removing sparked the deadly white supremacist riots in Charlottesville in 2017 lastly came down in July.
Based on an announcement from Northam’s workplace, Monument Avenue’s Lee statue can be positioned in storage at a state facility “until a permanent, appropriate location is chosen for its display.”
It stays to be seen whether or not the sculpture’s pedestal, nearly completely coated in spray-painted messages and thought of a pivotal work of protest art, will stay on Monument Avenue. Final December, in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Nice Arts, Northam launched a group effort to reimagine the boulevard, together with funding new public artwork to “shine light on previously untold stories.”
With works about scholar protests in India, colonialism in South Korea, the historical past of trains in cinema, and extra, this version of Wavelengths is the pageant’s finest in years.
The excessive views introduced by orators are veiled by their adoption of design aesthetics typical of newscasters.
The protest relaunch will kick off per week of actions and organizing main as much as a city-wide motion on September 17 below the slogan “Globalize the Intifada.”