As the bronze statue, which stood 21 feet tall, was taken from a pedestal and brought to the ground, hundreds of people cheered and sang. This was a significant victory for civil rights activists who had previously tried to remove the statues. However, both city and state officials have steadfastly refrained from their calls.
Ana Edwards, a community activist who founded the Virginia Defenders for Freedom Justice & Equality, stated that it was difficult to imagine two years ago that Monument Avenue's statues would be taken down. It's representative of how we are trying to peel back the layers and injustices that Black people and other people of color experienced while being governed by white supremacist policy for so many years.
Democratic Governor. Ralph Northam, Democratic Governor. But litigation tied up his plans until the state Supreme Court cleared the way last week.
Northam watched the work and called it "hopefully, a fresh day, a new age in Virginia."
In 1890, the bronze sculpture measured 21 feet (6 meters) and was placed on a granite pedestal that was twice as tall. The sculpture was perched in the middle of a state-owned traffic circle, and it stood among four other massive Confederate statues that were removed by the city last summer.
As the crane was about to lift the statue, a construction worker strapped harnesses around Lee.
Some sang "Whose streets?" Some sang "Our streets!" and "Hey, Hey, Hey, Goodbye!"
The crew then used a power saw and cut the statue in half along the general's waist. It could then be taken under highway overpasses to an undisclosed facility of the state, until a decision about its future is made.
The job was overseen by Team Henry Enterprises, led by Devon Henry, a Black executive who faced death threats after his company's role in removing Richmond's other Confederate statues was made public last year. He stated that the Lee statue was their most difficult challenge.