Last year, it was announced that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam would remove the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Richmond's Monument Avenue. After several lawsuits and the state’s Supreme Court ruling last week that Northam had the authority to remove the monument, the statue was finally taken down today (Sept. 8).
According to the Associated Press, the removal process began last night and wasn’t completed until this morning. The 12-ton Confederate monument was erected in 1890 and it was the largest remaining Confederate statue in the United States. Onlookers were heard chanting “Hey, hey, hey, goodbye” and “whose streets? Our streets!”
On Sept. 7, Northam said in a statement, "Virginia's largest monument to the Confederate insurrection will come down this week. This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a Commonwealth.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney also added, "We are taking an important step this week to embrace the righteous cause and put the 'Lost Cause' behind us. Richmond is no longer the capital of the Confederacy. We are a diverse, open and welcoming city, and our symbols need to reflect this reality."
Lee led the Confederate army during the Civil War from 1861 to 1865, in which Southern states seceded from the United States over the upholding of the institution of slavery. He surrendered along with his 28,000 troops at Appomattox, Va., in April 1865 to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
The Associated Press reports the statue will be cut into pieces so it can be transferred to a secure location. Its final destination has not been made public as of yet.
Since last year, over 160 Confederate symbols have been removed across the country.