A statue honoring Confederate general Robert E. Lee that stood for over 100 years in Charlottesville, Virginia was ceremoniously taken down this past summer.
Following plans to either have it donated to a museum, sold to a collector or destroyed altogether, the Charlottesville City Council came to an agreement to melt down the racist monument and give a local African-American history museum the task of creating something more reflective of the city’s diversity with its remains.
Following six proposals of what to do with the monument, some even offering as much as $50,000 for the bronze sculpture, the city council came to a 4 to 0 vote to hand over rights to its local bidder, the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. As detailed in a report by The Washington Post, the Black-led institution decided to repurpose the materials for a project being referred to as “Swords Into Plowshares,” lifted from the Bible verse Isaiah 2:4 which reads, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
More on how the plan will play out over the next few years below, via The Washington Post:
“The museum will consult Charlottesville residents in the coming months, including in open forums early next year, to determine guidelines for the art piece, and then convene a jury to select one idea, Douglas said. The end result will be gifted back to the city to display on public land by 2024.”
As many may remember, the statue was a focal point in the 2017 Unite the Right rally that saw white supremacists embark on a two-day racist rant in Charlottesville that caused extreme violence and even provoked a racist white man to drive into a group of counter-protesters which killed a woman and injured a handful of others.
We look forward to seeing what becomes of a figure that once represented hate and prejudice, and can only hope it helps to bring the city together on a more unified platform that makes all feel welcomed.