The Show Support for, Opposition to Lee Statue

The conflict was instigated by Charlottesville’s vice mayor Wes Bellamy in March 2016 at an open-air press conference next to the Robert E. Lee memorial.  His objective was to summon Charlottesville City Council to remove the statue of the Confederate Civil War General and rename Lee park, the area in which it fittingly resides.  Bellamy expressed his understanding that sections of the community felt “disrespected” by the presence of Lee’s monument, some of which even refused to enter the park due to what Lee’s monument and the park’s name represents (“Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy: Take Down Robert E. Lee Statue”).  His statue is commonly seen as a monument to the Confederacy, when in reality it is a tribute to the life that Lee lived and left.  This inability to see past Robert E. Lee’s label as the General of the Confederate Army in the Civil War has caused communities to invalidate his legacy and use his life as a platform for their own personal agendas.  For example, Rick Turner, head of the local NAACP, spoke in support of its removal, labeling Lee as a “terrorist”. In addition, a petition to remove the statue was launched, which expressed the misconception that the statue represented “hate” and was a “subliminal message of racism”(“People Show Support for, Opposition to Lee Statue in Charlottesville”).  Ever since the outbreak of opposition over Lee’s monument, various initiatives has been proposed–all of which failed to resolve the conflict and resulted in a complex lawsuit over municipal rights (“Groups File Lawsuit to Stop Removal of Confederate Statues”).  Later on, Lee’s monument was splattered in red paint; however, this was not his first dose of vandalism (“Lee Statue Vandalized Ahead of KKK Rally in Charlottesville”). Prior to this incident, the base of his statue was defaced with the phrase, “Black Lives Matter” spray painted across it (Fortin).


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