UPDATED 1:03 PM PT – Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Workers in Richmond, Virginia got to work tearing down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that’s been standing for more than 130 years. The deconstruction began Wednesday morning after the state’s Supreme Court upheld two lower court rulings that called for the removal of the Civil War general’s statue.
The removal saw mixed reactions as many suggested it’s an attempt to erase history. “It’s a good day, and it’s a sad day at the same time,” said Sharon Jennings, a Black woman who has lived in Richmond her entire life. “It doesn’t matter what color you are, if you really like history, and you understand what this street has been your whole life and you’ve grown up this way, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, my God.’ But when you get older, you understand that it does need to come down.”
Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam was in attendance when the statue came down, saying its removal was a long time coming.
“Any remnant like this that glorifies the lost cause of the Civil War, it needs to come down,” said the governor. Northam said he hopes this move will represent a “new era in Virginia.”
WATCH LIVE: As the removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond takes place. https://t.co/ylZytLmLck
— Governor Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) September 8, 2021
On Thursday, crews plan to replace the statue with a time capsule containing a vaccination card, a photo of a Black ballerina in front of the statue, a BLM sticker and the special edition of the National Geographic magazine featuring George Floyd’s picture.