Statue of general who led secessionists to defeat is last major Confederate monument in grouping's former capital.

One of the last major monuments to the pro-slavery movement in the United States came down Wednesday, when workers on Richmond, Virginia’s Monument Avenue removed a 12-ton likeness of Gen. Robert E. Lee, the West Point graduate who led the Confederacy to defeat in the American Civil War.

The only statue now remaining on the street is one to the pioneering Black tennis player Arthur Ashe, a Wimbledon champion who was born and raised in Richmond, the one-time capital of the Confederacy, USA Today reported.

Workers harnessed the 12-ton statue, one of the largest and most recognizable symbols of Confederate history in the state, and removed it from its 40-foot pedestal to cheers from hundreds watching. Some wore Black Lives Matter shirts and chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!”

“It was the last symbol of hate,” Bee Gardner of Richmond told the newspaper. Now, his 8-year-old niece “can grow up honoring her racial identity, rather than a lost history.”

“The public monuments reflect the story we choose to tell about who we are as a people,” said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat. “It is time to display history as history and use the public memorials to honor the full and inclusive truth of who we are today and in the future.”

 

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