Charlottesville removes Confederate statue near site of deadly "Unite the Right" rally
The "At Ready" Confederate statute in Charlottesville, Virginia, was removed early on Saturday, 111 years after it was erected.
Why it matters: Charlottesville was the site of the deadly, far-right "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017, where a neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
- At the time, white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended on Charlottesville to protest the city's decision to remove a statue of Robert E Lee, which sits about a block from the "At Ready" statue.
- A judge blocked the removal of the Lee statue, as well as one of Stonewall Jackson, earlier this year, but the state's Supreme Court plans to take up the case.
- The removal of Confederate symbols has been a key issue in the ongoing protests against racism in the U.S.
Background: The "At Ready" statue was dedicated outside the Albemarle County Court House in 1909.
- The monument depicted a Confederate soldier holding a rifle, along with two cannons and several cannonballs on either side.
- Albermarle County was one of the first communities to go through the legal process to eliminate a war statue since the state passed a law earlier this year that authorizes localities to remove, relocate or cover war monuments and memorials.
- The statue's removal Saturday was live-streamed on Facebook.
What they're saying: “It is with pride that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors takes action to remove the 'At Ready' statue," said Ned Gallaway, chair of the Albemarle County board of supervisors.
- "We know that taking this action is not some end point. We have a lot of work to do and that work is in our policy work, in affordable housing, in our schools — we know we have a long way to go. I’m looking forward to getting to that work," Gallaway said in a statement.
By the numbers:
- A total of 115 Confederate symbols have been removed from public spaces since Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, shot dead nine Black worshippers at a Charleston, South Carolina, church, per the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
- At least 30 of those have been removed since the police killing of George Floyd this May. Many removed symbols are now located on private land.
- According to the SPLC, nearly 1,800 Confederate symbols remain on public land, including 739 monuments.