An American symbol of hate was finally destroyed last week as Virginia’s controversial Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee has been melted down.
According to WTKR, the Robert E. Lee statue, which was removed from downtown Charlottesville July 10, 2021, has been melted down to create a new public piece of art commissioned by the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center under the Swords Into Plowshares project.
Dr. Andrea Douglas, the executive director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, told NewsOne that she felt relieved watching the statue being melted and that they are diligently working on next steps.
“Unite The Right” Rally
On Aug. 12, 2017, alt-right, neo-Nazi and far-right militia hate groups traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to protest the removal of the Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue, which stood in the city for almost a century.
The white nationalist protest was met by counter-protesters who opposed the rallies’ racist intentions. The incident turned extremely violent, prompting Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to declare a state of emergency, but by then it was too late.
Self-identified white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a sea of protestors, killing Heather Heyer and injuring more than 30 others.
Fields was arrested, charged and eventually convicted in 2018 of first-degree murder, malicious wounding, as well as other crimes. He also pleaded guilty to 29 federal hate crimes to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison, plus 419 years.
Douglas continued, “Our efforts have been not to remove history, but bear witness to our truths about our racist pasts and our aspirations for a more equitable future.”
The Black-led institution plans to gift the city the new artwork in 2024, which will then be displayed for the public in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Still concerns over white supremacy
Author and activist Rev. Osagyefo Sekou told NewsOne he believes art plays a role in the struggle for equality, but he is still concerned about the lasting effects of white supremacy.
“The fundamental question is what will the art be and more pointedly how do we beat back the resurgent white supremacy Neo Nazism?” said Rev. Sekou. “I do believe art has a key role in that struggle. The challenge for our beleaguered democracy is to reshape society into a more just civilization. That will take the kind of political heat that melted the statue.”
The Robert E. Lee statue has been a symbol of hate in Virginia since its inception in 1924. Created decades after the end of the Civil War, the statue was more of a representation of the Jim Crow era than the war itself.
The statues of Lee and other Confederates were splattered all over the country as a way to keep the Confederacy and the racism that accompanied it alive.
Now that it’s completely gone and turning into something more positive, we will never forget those who fought tirelessly for this change.
Sometimes you have to look to the past to see where you are headed. Charlottesville is a reminder that the fight to rid this country of its racist ways is far from over.
The post When Effigies Of Hate Burn: Robert E. Lee Statue Melted Down In Charlottesville appeared first on NewsOne.
When Effigies Of Hate Burn: Robert E. Lee Statue Melted Down In Charlottesville was originally published on newsone.com
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