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General Lee statue to be removed from Virginia’s capital, Richmond

General Lee statue to be removed from Virginia’s capital, Richmond
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has announced the removal an iconic statue of General Robert E. Lee from Monument Avenue in the state’s capital, Richmond, which has been gripped by protests over racism and police brutality.

“Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But, it was wrong then and it is wrong now. So we’re taking it down,” the Democrat governor said during the press conference.

The massive statue will be removed from its pedestal and put into storage while the administration decides on its fate.

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Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced on Wednesday plans to remove other Confederate monuments on Monument Avenue, including statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart.

The Lee monument was erected in 1890, a few decades after the end of the Civil War. The placement of confederate monuments has become a controversial topic in US politics, with some seeing them as symbol of oppression while others say they are simply a part of history and should be left alone. Lee’s memorial in Richmond was spray-painted during the recent protests over the killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, in Minnesota, which has gripped the whole country.

Some attributed the governor’s decision to move the statue to the ongoing protests, which they also hailed as causing the actions various states have taken against their police departments.

Those who had long called for the removal of the statue hailed the move. Virginia Legislative Black Caucus wrote in a statement that the takedown is “a step in the right direction in the continued fight to address institutional racism, systemic disparities, and remaining vestiges of Jim Crow in our Commonwealth.”

Others, meanwhile, insisted that politics should be kept out of history and said Lee was a nobleman who lost his family home and never returned to it after the Civil War – and thus deserves the recognition, despite the political climate.

Some have viewed the takedown as a sign of progress, attributing it to the ongoing protests: “It's just been a little over a week. Keep. Going.”

Many saw Northam’s move as hypocritical, since the governor was once famously caught wearing blackface.

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