Officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday (July 10) removed statues honoring two Confederate generals nearly four years after neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups stormed the city in a deadly rally.
Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker told reporters and observers that the removal of the bronze statues depicting Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson "is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville and America “grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain," according to NBC News.
Around 200 residents, spectators and Black Lives Matter supporters came out on Saturday morning to see the statues come down.
“This monument symbolizes a lot of things to our community," Niya Bates, 31, of Charlottesville, said, according to NBC News. "So to see that baggage, literal baggage — all of the racism, the history of enslavement, the inequities in our community — picked up, put on a truck and taken out,” was good.
Both statues have been up since the 1920s, and will be stored until the City Council decides what to do with them, the report says.
In August 2017, white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups descended on Charlottesville for a violent "Unite the Right" rally to protest the removal of Confererate statues.
The protests turned deadly after James Alex Fields Jr. killed 32-year-old paralegal and civil rights activist Heather Heyer by hitting her with his vehicle.