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One of America’s largest confederacy symbols was taken down in Richmond, Virginia, in early September 2021. Onlookers cheered and sang as the statue was finally taken down from its pedestal, where it stood for over a century.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam deserves praise for his decision to have the statue removed. He agrees its symbolism of accepting racism and slavery does not fit in with the ongoing fight for equality. Northam witnessed the event and congratulated the citizens for supporting the statue’s removal.
“This was a long time coming, now part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” Northam said. He added, the statue represented more than 400 years of disgraceful American history.
The Robert E. Lee statue and many other Confederate statues in America are constant reminders of the past and present forms of institutionalized racism in the United States.
The statue’s removal was long overdue, and George Floyd’s murder inflamed America’s fight for equality, especially in the Black community. Protesters calls for the removal of the statues of slaveholding Founding Fathers, and Confederate soldiers were met not only by graffiti but actively damaging and/or removing other statues.
But there is still more work to be done when it comes to the removal of racist monuments. Adding Virginia’s Statue to the numbers, more than 300 symbols of the confederacy and white supremacy have been taken down over the last six years. Nevertheless, hundreds, if not thousands, of statues still stand in the United States.
Opinion News by Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Britannica: Pro and Con: Historic Statue Removal in the United States
NBC News: Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, taken down, cut into pieces
Reuters: Statue of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee removed in Virginia capital; by Brendan O’Brien
Images Courtesy of Mobilus In Mobili’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License