Statues in honor of two Confederate generals will finally be taken down in Charlottesville, officials said Friday nearly four years after white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups stormed Virginia University City to protect the monuments.
The bronze statues depicting Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be taken away Saturday, and fences around the monuments rose on Friday, according to a statement from the city of Charlottesville.
No parking signs were placed Friday on blocks around Court Square and Market Street Park, where the statues will stand one last night.
The statues of Lee and Jackson will be taken away while their “stone bases are left temporarily and removed at a later date,”
The statues are kept for the time being until the city council decides to sell, destroy or otherwise dispose of them.
City officials are willing to hear from “any museum, historic community, government or military battlefield interested in acquiring the statues, or one of them for relocation and placement,” the statement continued.
The city’s efforts to remove these statues were bound for years in the courts. That was before the state Supreme Court in April annulled a Circuit Court ruling in favor of a group of residents who sued to block Charlottesville from dismantling the monuments.
The city council voted unanimously last month to remove them. The Jackson statue has been up since 1921, and the Lee statue was first placed in 1924.
The Southern Poverty Law Center praised the city, as it said now stands “on the right side of history.”
“Charlottesville residents have been waiting long enough,” the Alabama-based civil rights group said in a statement.
Charlottesville City Councilman Michael Payne retweeted City Hall’s announcement with a response to a word: “Tomorrow.”
White supremacist and neo-Nazi groups came down to Charlottesville in August 2017 for the violent “Unite the Right” rally to protest the efforts to remove monuments to the infamous 19th-century military leaders.
The protests became deadly after James Alex Fields Jr. killed 32-year-old associate attorney and civil rights activist Heather Heyer.
Fields, an Ohio man known for being fascinated by Nazism and idolatrous Adolf Hitler, drove his car into a group of counter-protesters. He is now serving a life sentence.
Maya Brown the contribution.