Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson statues were officially removed by the City Of Charlottesville, Virginia. They have been a flashpoint in the community since the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.
The equestrian statute’s removal had been halted by litigation, and state laws recently amended governing war memorials.
According to a press release from the Charlottesville City Council released on July 9, viewing areas had been established in both parks where spectators could gather and watch the bronze statues being lifted from their stone bases by cranes.
“Only the statuary will be removed. Their stone bases will be left in place temporarily and removed at a later date,” and “Both statues will be stored in a secure location on City property until City Council makes a final decision on disposition,” also stated in the press release.
In the press release, the City Council noted they have “solicited for expressions of interest from any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the statues, or either of them, for relocation and placement.” The City has received six out-of-state and four in-state responses but “remains open to additional expressions of interest.”
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker spoke before the removals commenced saying, “Today the statues come down … and we’re one small step closer to a more perfect union,” according to VPM.
The effort to remove the statues began with a petition in March of 2016 to the city council and a recommendation from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Race advisory body.
The city council voted on February 6, 2017, to remove both statues. A lawsuit was filed on March 3 seeking temporary and permanent injunctive relief on all actions regarding the statutes. Virginia’s General Assembly passed a law allowing localities the power to decide what to do with their war memorials on July 1, 2020. Finally, the Virginia Supreme Court agreed to allow for the removals siding with the city on April 1, 2021.
Far-left radicals continue to seek to destroy sculptures across the country, with a broader scope than just Confederates. The City of Charlottesville also decided to remove a statue depicting Lewis, Clarke, and Sacagawea to explore the Louisiana Purchase.
Many statues of our Founding Fathers across the country have been destroyed or vandalized, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC, recommends that Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and even the Washington Monument be removed.
Even former slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass saw the chopping block. Douglass is famous for being a proponent of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and other things. In an 1852 speech titled, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” Douglass stated:
Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men too — great enough to give fame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such several truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots, and heroes, and for the good they did and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.
They loved their country better than their own private interests, and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue and that when it is exhibited, it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.
They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settled” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty, and humanity were “final;” not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.
America’s founding documents were praised in the speech; Douglass proclaimed the promises of the Declaration and Constitution should be extended to black persons to fulfill the country’s commitment.