Charlottesville Pulls Down Monuments Of Confederate Generals: The contentious dismantling of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia, took place in front of a large throng of viewers on Saturday morning (July 10) morning, according to the Associated Press.
Onlookers stood and cheered as a crew demolished monuments dedicated to Confederate Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee, who led the South to the American Civil War. The decision to remove the latter provoked the white nationalist protest known as “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, which sparked years of legal disputes in the city of the same name.
According to the Associated Press, Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker spoke on the significance of the moment in front of a crowd of people and journalists. “Demolishing this statue brings us one step closer to our aim of assisting Charlottesville, Virginia, and the United States in grappling with the sin of being prepared to destroy Black people for economic gain,” she stated.
The Charlottesville City Council declared on Friday (July 9) that it intends to remove the bronze sculptures from their pedestals in Market Street Park and Court Square Park, respectively. Their unanimous decision to demolish the statues came months after the Virginia Supreme Court declared that a 1997 state legislation banning communities from demolishing Confederate war memorials did not apply to these specific statues, and that the statues should be demolished.
Saturday’s events, according to Zyahna Bryant, the Black woman who began a campaign to have the statue of Lee removed in 2016 described them as both “bitter” and “sweet.” “I am proud and trying to force myself to do the hard thing: to feel and be present in the moment, living the same tale as so many other Black women and femmes,” the budding activist wrote in an op-ed for Teen Vogue. The story is about being made to feel guilty about enjoying victories, no matter how small or insignificant they may be, and about having those victories belittled or contextualized as simply the beginning,” she said in her essay. “Black women who have spent time, energy, and resources into transforming the physical landscapes of our communities are also spending time, energy, and resources into longer-term strategic and systemic campaigns to demolish the underlying institutions that these monuments represent. The monuments, we recognize, are not the end of the story, since they were never our beginning.”
Adding, “I understand that this war will continue, but I also understand that my spirit and body are not monuments.” “They may appear to be timeless and unbreakable, yet it is not impossible to bring them crashing down. It is my very being that serves as a challenge to white supremacy, which is not an impenetrable barrier.
With each fall of these monuments, we are splitting the thin surface of the earth and attempting to shake them even more from their basic foundations. That is why every single monument to our nation’s racist past must be demolished. These statues reflect the painful bondage that has existed in the past and continues today.”
Both Confederate sculptures will be stored in a secure place on city property until the city council takes a final decision on what to do with them, according to the statement from the city.