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Charlottesville Robert E. Lee Statue To Be Melted Down Into Public Art

The move received city council approval this week.

The Robert E. Lee statue that once stood in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia will reportedly be melted down and turned into a public arts project.

According to NPR, the move received city council approval this week. It was the debate over removing the controversial monument that sparked the Unite the Right demonstration in August 2017 that led to a deadly neo-Nazi rally where a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one person.

The Jefferson School American Heritage Center, a local Black-led nonprofit, will take on the project, which it has titled Swords Into Plowshares. The group says creating the art piece will help engage the Charlottesville community in how art can represent inclusion.

RELATED: Watch: Virginia Removes 12-Ton Robert E. Lee Confederate Monument

"Our hope with 'Swords into Plowshares' is to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful that can be more reflective of our entire community's social values," Andrea Douglas, the center's executive director, said in a statement, according to NPR. "We're giving people opportunities to engage with our own narratives and our own histories. This project offers a road map for other communities to do the same."

The statue of the Confederate general was removed following legal battles in Virginia’s Supreme Court. It was subsequently dismantled and has been stored in an undisclosed location.

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