Dec 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Charlottesville's Robert E. Lee statue to be melted down

A statue of Confederate general Robert E Lee located in Charlottesvilles is transported away on East Jefferson street.

A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee is transported after being removed from Market Street Park in Charlottesville, Virginia on July 10, 2021. Photo: John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Charlottesville City Council on Tuesday voted to give the bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee removed earlier this year to an African American history museum that plans to melt it down and transform it into public artwork.

Driving the news: The project — called "Swords Into Plowshares" — seeks "to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values," Andrea Douglas, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center's executive director, said in a video.

  • Artists will work with Charlottesville residents over the coming months to create a vision for the piece of public artwork.
  • There were six proposals submitted to the council, and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center was the only local bidder, per the Washington Post.

The big picture: The Charlottesville City Council vote comes more than four years after the deadly "Unite the Right" rally, where hundreds of white nationalists gathered carrying torches and signs that read "white lives matter."

  • The statue, which was removed in July, was a catalyst for the rally as protesters opposed the city's then-plan to take down the statue.

Go deeper: Virginia will remove pedestal of former Robert E. Lee statue, governor says

Go deeper