Several rulings set last week by the Virginia Supreme Court have allowed the state to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The statue stood 21 feet tall on one of Virginia’s most historic streets, Monument Avenue.
Calls to remove the statue increased after the death of George Floyd sparked nationwide conversations about police brutality and institutional racism.
CNN says Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced plans to remove the statue back in June 2020. Shortly after, a group of citizens sued, claiming that an 1890 deed as well as an 1889 General Assembly joint resolution prohibited the governor from executing the statue’s removal.
When the case reached the state Supreme Court more recently, they disagreed with the group of citizens. The ruling came saying that the group’s claims were without merit and the statue could in fact be removed.
In a statement released after the ruling, Gov. Northam said, “Today it is clear—the largest Confederate monument in the South is coming down.”
According to CNN, the founder of BLM RVA Lawrence West said the removal is “satisfying”. He went on to say, “Robert E. Lee standing here on Monument Avenue is very symbolic to the Confederate mindset, you know the levels of oppression that people feel on a regular day-to-day basis…With the coming down of the monument, it is also a part of coming down with those types of ideals. It brings some closure to the conversation, ‘It’s OK to be racist’.”