- A statue of American Confederate general Robert E Lee, a focal point in the deadly 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia protests, is to be melted down and turned into a piece of public art.
The statue, which had been a source of contention for years, was removed in July. It was the site of a white nationalist rally four years ago, resulting in a woman’s death.
The statue was given to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center by the city council’s 4-0 vote.
The organization intends to hire an artist for the Swords Into Plowshares project. “Our hope with ‘Swords into Plowshares’ is to create anything that changes what was once spoiled in our public space into anything attractive that can be more deliberative of our entire community’s social values,” said the center’s executive director, Andrea Douglas, according to the Associated Press.
“We are giving people the chance to engage with our narratives and histories. This project serves as a model for other communities to follow.”
The statue was a focal point of 2017 Unite the Right rally, widely regarded as a watershed moment in recent American history. The rally, which featured prominent figures from America’s white nationalist and far-right movements, began as a protest against the statue’s removal.
Heather Heyer, 32, a counter-protester, was dead when James Alex Fields drove his car into a crowd. In June 2019, he was convicted to life in prison. In April, the Virginia Supreme Court granted the city permission to remove two statues of former Confederate generals.
On the same day as the Lee statue, two other figures in Charlottesville were demolished, including Confederate Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
A statue depicting explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark alongside their Native American guide Sacagawea was removed after descendants of Sacagawea objected to her depiction alongside the men she led an expedition with.
Source: BBC News