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News > U.S.

Charlottesville City to Remove Confederate Generals Statues

  • The statue of Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2020.

    The statue of Robert E Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 12, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @NYTNational

Published 2 April 2021

After five years of legal litigation, local authorities will be able to remove statues of historical figures linked to the defense of slavery.

Virginia Supreme Court Justice Bernard Goodwyn on Thursday authorized Charlottesville City to take down statues of the Confederate Generals Robert Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson.


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"The team in the City Attorney's office did an amazing job; this court decision will positively impact so many lives," said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker.

"We are forever indebted to the community for their steadfastness and perseverance over the past five years. For all of us, who were on the right side of history, Bravo!"

In 2017, the City Council voted to remove the statues of Confederate generals. This decision generated a wave of protests that ended with three dead and 19 injured after clashes between ultra-right-wingers protesting the demolition of Lee's statue and anti-racist citizens who came out to confront them.

"The 'Unite the Right' rally... came to a horrific head after a man drove his car through a group of counter-protesters, killing Heather Heyer in the process," outlet The Root recalled.

A group of residents then filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court to prevent the statues from being removed. The court initially ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on the grounds that there was a law prohibiting the alteration of monuments dedicated to soldiers.

In reversing the Circuit Court's decision, however, Judge Goodwyn noted that this law could not be applied in this case because the statues were erected in the 1920s, i.e., before the establishment of the rule prohibiting the alteration of monuments.

The states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia defended slavery during the Civil War (1861-1865). Because of this stance, the Charlottesville statues became a symbol of white supremacy for a long time.

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