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Virginia plans to remove Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue: report

Robert E. Lee statue (Cville dog/WikiCommons)

A massive statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who led the South’s revolt to preserve slavery in the Civil War, has stood prominently as a symbol of racist oppression in Richmond, Va., since 1890. But according to a report from the Associated Press, Gov. Ralph Northam is planning to finally announce on Thursday that the statue will be moved off its pedestal and placed into storage until his office can figure out what to do with it.

The Lee statue, which is owned by the state, will apparently come down alongside four other city-owned statues of Confederate traitors on Richmond’s Monument Ave. On Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he would introduce an ordinance on July 1 to remove those statues.

That ordinance is timed to coincide with a new state law that ends protections for Confederate monuments and allows local governments to decide their fates.

The move to get rid of the statues, which comes as protests across the nation fight against racism and police brutality, is a very belated response to criticism of their existence from black officials and activists.

“That is symbol for so many people, black and otherwise of a time gone by of hate and oppression and being made to feel less than,” Delegate Jay Jones, a black lawmaker from Norfolk, told AP. He added that he was “overcome” with emotion when he learned the Lee statue would be taken down.

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