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The statue of Robert E. Lee is lowered from its pedestal on Sept. 8 in Richmond, Virginia. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia took down Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue on Wednesday, days after the state's Supreme Court paved the way for its removal.

Why it matters: It's the latest Confederate monument to come down following the racial justice protests that erupted after the murder of George Floyd last year. It comes two months after a Lee statue was removed in Charlottesville.

  • The 131-year-old statue is the state's "largest monument to the Confederate insurrection," Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement Monday. "This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a commonwealth. "

Catch up quick: The Democratic governor said in June 2020 that he planned to have the statue taken down, but two lawsuits emerged — from five area residents and an heir to the family that initially granted the land for the monument — temporarily blocking its removal, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

  • Virginia's Supreme Court ruled last week that the lawsuits blocking its removal were contrary to policy established by Virginia's General Assembly, adding that the descendant "has no property right, related to the Lee Monument, to enforce against the Commonwealth."

The big picture: More than 300 Confederate symbols, including 170 monuments, have been removed since Dylann Roof, a white supremacist, fatally shot nine Black worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, per the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

  • Calls for the removal of Confederate symbols intensified following the murder of Floyd and other police killings last year.
  • More than 1,895 Confederate symbols, including over 690 monuments, however, were still publicly present as of June, according to the SPLC.

Go deeper: Floyd's death set historic pace for Confederate removals

Go deeper

Nathan Bedford Forrest statue removed

The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest after it was splattered with pink paint in 2017. Photo: Mark Humphrey/AP

A controversial statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest on private land overlooking Interstate 65 was removed Tuesday after standing for more than two decades.

  • Local leaders were fiercely critical of the statue, which showed the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader with a wild grin riding a horse.
  • It has been vandalized several times over the years. In 2017, it was doused with bright pink paint.

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

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.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Anita Dunn advises Dems on economy message for '22

Signs from a President Biden event yesterday in Kansas City, Mo. Photo: Chase Castor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a midterm preview, top Democratic strategist Anita Dunn advises the party's House and Senate members to frame Republicans "as being against the economic interests of working Americans."

What she's saying: "Explicitly framing Republicans as opposing policies to lower costs does better than simply framing Republicans as the 'party of no,'" Dunn, White House senior adviser until August, writes in the memo.