VIDEO:, Robert E. Lee statue is melted down in a 2,250-degree furnace in Charlottesville KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt


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Thursday, October 26, 2023

VIDEO:, Robert E. Lee statue is melted down in a 2,250-degree furnace in Charlottesville

Information reaching Kossyderrickent has it that Robert E. Lee statue is melted down in a 2,250-degree furnace in Charlottesville.

The massive bronze sculpture of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in uniform, astride his horse Traveller, stood in a downtown Charlottesville park for nearly a century. It was at the center of a deadly white nationalist rally in 2017, when Neo-Nazis and white supremacists tried to stop the city's plans to remove the statue.

It came down to cheers in July of 2021.

"Today the statue comes down and we are one small step closer to a more perfect union," said then-mayor Nikuyah Walker.

It was a choice to melt down Robert E. Lee. But it would have been a choice to keep him intact, too.

So the statue of the Confederate general that once stood in Charlottesville — the one that prompted the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 — was now being cut into fragments and dropped into a furnace, dissolving into a sludge of glowing bronze.

Six years ago, groups with ties to the Confederacy had sued to stop the monument from being taken down. Torch-bearing white nationalists descended on the Virginia college town to protest its removal, and one man drove his car through a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others.

"We want to transform something that has been toxic in the Charlottesville community," says Jalane Schmidt, a religious studies professor at the University of Virginia and one the project's organizers. "We want to transform it into a piece of art that the community can be can be proud of, and gather around and not feel excluded or intimidated."

"People are willing to die for symbols," Schmidt says. "And as we saw in Charlottesville, they're willing to kill for them too."

Lawsuits to stop the project failed, and last weekend organizers moved forward, with great secrecy, to disassemble and melt down the Lee monument.

The statue’s defenders more recently sought to block the city from handing over Lee to the Charlottesville’s Black history museum, which had proposed a plan to repurpose the metal. In a lawsuit, those plaintiffs suggested the monument should remain intact or be turned into Civil War cannons. But on Saturday the museum went ahead with its plan in secret at this small Southern foundry, in a town and state The Washington Post agreed not to name because of participants’ fears of violence.

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