The statue has stood for 130 years and has been on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since 2007.
A statue of Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia, will be dismantled on Wednesday, more than 130 years after it was erected as a tribute to a Civil War hero who is now widely seen as a symbol of racial injustice, state officials said.
“The largest monument to the Confederate Rebellion in Virginia will be dismantled this week,” Governor Ralph Northam said in a press release. “This is an important step towards showing who we are and what we value as a state.”
A bronze statue of Lee on a horse with a height of 6.4 meters sits on a granite pedestal, almost twice the height of the monument itself in the center of the traffic interchange on the famous Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Governor Ralph Northam announced plans to remove the statue in June 2020, 10 days after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. Plans to dismantle it were suspended for more than a year due to two lawsuits filed by residents of the state, but a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court last week allowed the statue to be removed.
In a press release on Monday, state officials said that preparations for the demolition of the statue would begin at 18: 00 local time on Tuesday when a protective fence will be installed.
The removal of the Lee statue, as one of the largest and most recognizable Confederate statues in the country, is expected to attract many people.
The dismantling will be broadcast live via the governor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The statue of Lee was created by the world-famous French sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercie and is considered a “masterpiece” according to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, where it has been located since 2007.