Largest Confederate monument in US set to be removed this week
There are 2,100 confederate statues still standing in the US
The largest remaining confederate statue in the US is being torn down on Wednesday after standing in Richmond, Virginia, for more than 130 years.
Though the statue's future is currently uncertain, a crew is set to remove the 12-ton statue of American Confederate general Robert E. and store it in a state-owned facility until further plans are arranged.
"Virginia's largest monument to the Confederate insurrection will come down this week," Democratic Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said in a statement. "This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a commonwealth."
After the murder of George Floyd in 2020, US officials have begun to address a long history of systemic racism. That has included removing symbols of confederacy being removed.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 160 Confederate symbols have been removed since 2020, but 2,100 are still publicly present in the US, some 704 are monuments.
Northam had originally sought to remove the statue last year but faced legal challenges from a descendant of the family who gave the statue to the state. Some local families were also against the move, but the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in the governor's favour.
The 40-foot granite pedestal that the statue usually sits on will be left for the time being. The City of Richmond and the Virginia Department of Fine Arts will work to "reimagine Monument Avenue," to be a better representation of the state.
"Richmond is no longer the capital of the confederacy," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement. "We are a diverse, open, and welcoming city, and our symbols need to reflect this reality."
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