RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A crowd erupted in cheers and song Wednesday as work crews hoisted an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee off the giant pedestal where it has towered over Virginia’s capital city for more than a century.
One of America’s largest monuments to the Confederacy, the equestrian statue was lifted down to the ground just before 9 a.m., after a construction worker who strapped harnesses around Lee and his horse lifted his arms in the air and counted down, “Three, two, one!” to jubilant shouts from a crowd of hundreds. A work crew then began cutting it into pieces.
“This was a long time coming, part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, who was there to witness the event. The Democrat said it represents “more than 400 years of history that we should not be proud of,” and congratulated Virginians for supporting its removal.
Sharon Jennings, an African American born and raised in Richmond, said the statue had to go, but she still had mixed feelings seeing it come down.