Yesterday, city workers in Charlottesville, VA brought down a Confederate statue near the site of a violent white nationalist rally three years ago, where dozens were injured and one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a self-avowed white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of people protesting the rally.
The removal of the bronze figure of a Confederate soldier known as “At Ready,” is what is being seen in Charlottesville as a milestone in eliminating oppressive symbols of the Civil War from public properties shared by all taxpayers.
According to the Washington Post, Albemarle County supervisors voted earlier this summer to take down “At Ready,” even though the statue was not the focal point of the 2017 rally, but a block away from the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups said they were defending in the clash.
Charlottesville’s city council has also voted to remove both the Lee statue and a nearby monument to Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, but a group of Confederate supporters filed a lawsuit to save them. The case is headed to the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Regardless of the delay on the removal of the Lee and Jackson statues, local leaders are heartened by the removal of “At Ready” as a harbinger of continued changes to come.
“This is a magnificent moment,” said local community organizer Don Gathers. “Much of the racial tension, strife and protest we’re seeing across the country emanates from right here in Charlottesville. But now we’re moving the needle in a positive way.”
(Photo: Zach Wajsgras/Charlottesville Tomorrow)
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