The statue of Confederate Civil War general Robert E. Lee was removed from Richmond, Virginia, Wednesday, leading to widespread support from stars and activists. Dedicated in 1890, it was the last remaining Confederate statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue.
“Aww, the south is losing one of its last participation trophies,” quipped sports writer Craig Calcaterra, referring to the fact that Lee and the Confederate army lost the war. Many in the South see the statue as a memorial to racism, then, as it’s not standing in honor of a winning team, but rather a losing side that fought against the emancipation of slaves.
Fred Wellman, a senior advisor with conservative group the Lincoln Project, posted a photo of the statue and noted he was “glad to see it go away finally.”
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam posted a link to the livestream of the removal (seen below) and Daily Beast editor at large Molly Jong-Fast simply called the removal “good.” Historian Kevin M. Kruse added, “Nothing honors Robert E. Lee’s legacy more than being brought low in Virginia.”
The Rev. Robert W. Lee, IV, a descendant of the general who has advocated for its removal, told TheWrap, “My life, my public witness, and indeed my life’s work thus far has been in the shadow of Lee’s statue in Richmond. It may not be the last but it is the largest Confederate statue.”
He noted that there has been increasing publicity around the statue and its possible removal, but it’s taken time, adding, “I am reminiscing on being on the MTV Video Music Award stage and on ‘The View’ in 2017 advocating for this. Today I was able to tell my girls that their future is a little brighter than our collective past because that statue is gone. This doesn’t abdicate us from work still to be done. That work is plentiful, but it is a fine reminder that equality and justice will win the war — something my ancestor never realized.”
The state’s Supreme Court paved the way for the removal last week with a pair of rulings and organizers wasted no time in acting on their new ability to take the statue down. Videos from the event show a gathered crowd chanting, “Na-na-na-na, hey-hey-hey, goodbye,” and “Black lives matter.”