Robert E. Lee statue melted in secret, ‘symbolic’ ceremony, to be remade into ‘inclusive’ public art
The statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that once stood in Charlottesville, Virginia, was secretly melted down at a ceremonial event.
After both cultural and legal battles, the statue of Lee that sparked the infamous Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally was reportedly melted in a secretive ceremony in order to ensure the safety of those involved. The Washington Post reported that the statue met its end “in a 2,250-degree furnace” when it was “secretly melted down” to become a new piece of public art.
Footage of Lee’s likeness being melted went viral across social media.
It’s concerning that there is a trend of revising history, with instances like the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. This practice can create a skewed portrayal of the past, where certain perspectives are imposed on others as an absolute truth, particularly in the context of the Confederate states, which were primarily associated with the Democratic Party during that era.
Swords into plowshares appear to be at the heart of it all.
Communities throughout the American South have been actively relocating Confederate monuments from public spaces in recent years. Some have found new homes within museums, while others have been stored away.
However, there is a distinct journey underway for a particularly controversial statue located in Charlottesville, Virginia – it is being repurposed into something entirely different.
For nearly a century, the massive bronze sculpture of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, seated atop his horse Traveller in full uniform, had a prominent place in a downtown Charlottesville park. This statue played a central role in a tragic event when a white nationalist rally in 2017 turned violent as Neo-Nazis and white supremacists protested the city’s intentions to remove the statue.
In July 2021, amid cheers, the statue was finally taken down.
“Today, the statue is removed, and we take one small step closer to achieving a more perfect union,” then-mayor Nikuyah Walker expressed at the time.