The statue of confederate general Robert E. Lee that was at the center of the deadly Charlottesville demonstrations in 2017 is going to be destroyed and remade into art.
The Charlottesville City Council voted to give the now infamous statue of Lee to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. They plan to melt it down and turn it into a piece of art that reflects the community’s values.
"The question of what to do with statues has gotten to this place where we are really saying out loud, ‘Yeah, we really could melt them down,’ and we are not the only community that is thinking about it but we certainly hope we are the ones who create the road map for others who are interested in doing it," says Andrea Douglas from the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.
The Charlottesville City Council’s vote to remove the statue in early 2017 prompted a group of white nationalists and white supremacists to rally in downtown Charlottesville.
The rally turned deadly when a neo-Nazi drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing one woman, Heather Heyer, and injuring 35 others.
Some historians say the monuments should be left in place as a reminder of slavery, the civil war and the country’s history.
According to Douglas, several communities are considering what to do with statues that have been removed, but Charlottesville is the first and farthest along to transform the statue into an artistic reflection of the community.
They hope to begin the process of community engagement on what to create beginning in February.