On Wednesday, the nation’s largest remaining Confederate statue will be removed from the famed Monument Avenue in Richmond.
In June 2020, amid growing calls in recent years to remove tributes to the Confederacy, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered the 60-foot-tall bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee — the last state-owned Confederate statue along Monument Avenue — to be removed.
Northam’s call had been tied up in litigation, faced with legal challenges from Richmond residents and a descendant of the family that gave the statue to Virginia
Last week, however, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled unanimously to dismiss two separate cases, clearing the way for the Lee statue’s removal.
“The statue was installed in 1890, a generation after the Civil War, during the historical movement that sought to undo the results by other means,” Northam said in a statement. “Virginia’s largest monument to the Confederate insurrection will come down this week. This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth.”
On Tuesday night, according to the statement, crews will install protective fencing along Monument Avenue and Allen Street, with the removal taking place on Wednesday. On Thursday, crews will take away plaques from the monument’s base.
The statue will be placed in secure storage at a state-owned facility until a final decision is made on what to do with it. The 40-foot granite pedestal, “which bears paint and graffiti from Richmond’s protests against police brutality and systemic racism, will remain in place for now,” writes Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The statue’s removal can be viewed via a live stream on Facebook and on Northam’s Twitter handle, @GovernorVA.