The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, that stirred up controversy has officially been taken down.
The crowd cheered as the statue was lowered from its pedestal Wednesday morning.
BREAKING: Robert E. Lee statue, erected in 1890, removed from its pedestal on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. pic.twitter.com/RGRZQXDA9n— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 8, 2021
Lawrence West, founder of BLM RVA, told CNN, “Robert E. Lee standing here on Monument Avenue is very symbolic to the Confederate mindset, you know the levels of oppression that people feel on a regular day-to-day basis.”
He added, “With the coming down of the monument it is also a part of coming down with those types of ideals. It brings some closure to the conversation, ‘It’s OK to be racist’.”
The removal comes just days after the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled the state can remove the statue, as IJR reported.
Attorney General Mark Herring reacted to the ruling on Twitter.
“We have won the case to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Avenue. The Supreme Court of Virginia has dissolved all injunctions and the statue may now come down. A big win for a more inclusive Commonwealth!” Herring said.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the “ruling is a tremendous win for the people of Virginia. Our public memorials are symbols of who we are and what we value. When we honor leaders who fought to preserve a system that enslaved human beings, we are honoring a lost cause that has burdened Virginia for too many years.”
He also attended the removal of the statue.
“This has a long time coming, part of the healing process for Virginia to move forward, to embrace diversity, to be a welcoming state, to be inclusive,” Northam said.
CONFEDERATE STATUE REMOVAL: Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) celebrates removal of Robert E. Lee statue: "This has a long time coming, part of the healing process for Virginia to move forward, to embrace diversity, to be a welcoming state, to be inclusive." https://t.co/IFvlE76aJX pic.twitter.com/q873hAREgF— Forbes (@Forbes) September 8, 2021
He added, “A lot of effort has gone into this. I want to thank the city of Richmond, the people of Richmond, and people all across the Commonwealth for doing the right thing. After 402 years of this history that we should not be proud of, this is a step in the right direction. It’s a big day for Virginia and I thank all of you for being part of this.”