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Confederate Statue Of Robert E. Lee Gets Removed After Nearly 100 Years
By Ell Ko, 13 Jul 2021
Image via Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
Cheers ring out from the surrounding crowd in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia, as the Confederate statue of General Robert E. Lee is lifted from its pedestal and transported away. This public event marks the end of the statue’s presence in the city, which had turned into almost a landmark of racist protests and resultant violence.
In 2017, racial justice activists had pushed to take down the almost-century-old monument with a petition started by a young Black activist, Zyahna Bryant. Their efforts were halted with a lawsuit, claiming that the city council’s vote to remove the statue as per the petition had gone against a state law to protect monuments from the Civil War.
However, this sequence of events alarmed white supremacists and other racist groups, which led to the violent ‘Unite the Right’ Neo-Nazi rally that same year, resulting in numerous injuries and a death. It was the largest gathering of far-right extremists in a decade, according to the Associated Press.
But this April, the state’s Supreme Court decided to proceed with the statue’s removal after almost five years since the initial push, Artnet reports. And this last Saturday, Bryant joined the mayor of Charlottesville, Nikuyah Walker, for the historic event.
“Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America, grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain,” Walker stated in her speech.
In an article published by Teen Vogue, Bryant writes, “I find myself wondering if I’ll be recognized as the catalyst for this moment or forgotten by history.” She addresses the fact that many Black women who push for similar causes never have their names mentioned in history, despite their tangible impact.
“My prayer is this: that Black women find the time and space to be human. To find rest. And to make pouring into their own cup a priority.”
[via Artnet, image via Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com]
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