The monument of Robert E. Lee is removed on Saturday, July 10, 2021 in Charlottesville, Va. The removal of the Lee and Jackson statues comes nearly four years after violence erupted at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally. (Erin Edgerton/The Daily Progress via AP)
Cheers erupted July 10 as a Confederate statue that towered for nearly a century over downtown Charlottesville was carted away by truck from the Virginia city where it had become a flashpoint for racist protests and deadly violence.
It was a day of palpable joy and immense relief for scores of residents and visitors who lined neighboring streets to watch the larger-than-life figure of Gen. Robert E. Lee as it was hoisted from its pedestal and taken — at least for now — to storage.
The statue’s removal came more than five years after racial justice activists had renewed a push to take down the monument, an initiative that drew the attention of white supremacists and other racist groups, culminating in the violent “Unite the Right” rally in 2017.