Democrat Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who survived a scandal for his blackface antics in college, is live-streaming the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in the state’s capitol of Richmond and characterizing it as removing a symbol of support for slavery.
Lee was the top general for the Confederate Army. His father, according to his biography, “had been a hero of the American Revolution and governor of Virginia, and uncles and other relatives had signed the Declaration of Independence, served in Congress, and otherwise achieved notable reputations.”
The local ABC affiliate reported on the event, which started on Tuesday with road closures and heightened security measures:
The 12-ton statue, which is the largest Confederate statue in the United States, will not be simple to take down. Large portions of the area around the monument, including portions of Monument Avenue and North Allen Avenue will be completely closed off.
As for how the massive bronze statue is coming down, it will not be in one piece. [A] source stated that the Lee statue will be cut at the waist.
The upper body will be removed first, followed by Lee’s legs still attached to the horse. There are eight “pins” holding the statue up on the base. After removal, the source said the statue pieces will be taken to the Goochland Women’s Correctional Center on State Route 6 for temporary storage.
The state has already removed several other statues related to the Confederacy.
The Lee statue has been in place for 130 years.
“Officials say the graffiti-covered pedestal will remain in place while discussions continue about the future of Monument Avenue,” the local public radio station reported.