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Charlotteville, Virginia will take another step in the reformation of justice.

The Charlottesville City Council just voted in an unanimous 4-0 decision to donate the town’s General Robert E. Lee statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Robert E. Lee, who is most known as a pro-slavery advocate and military commander for the Confederates, had his statue voted to be removed in Charlottesville back in 2017.

This was shortly before the “Unite The Right” rallies that took place in, the formerly named, General Robert E. Lee park. The white supremacist rallies generated fatal commotion that left 3 dead and more than 50 people injured on August 12, 2017. One notably was Heather Heyer, who was struck by a white supremacists’ vehicle after he had committed to hurting counter-protestors at the scene. In November, a jury ordered 17 white nationalist leaders and their organizations to pay more than $26 million in damages to nine people who filed suit over the attacks.

From that day forward the city of Charlottesville has taken action to reprimand every visual form of white supremacy that remained in the city. Not only did Robert E. Lee’s statue get removed, but so did the statue of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, another Confederate leader. A meeting is slated to take place on Monday, Dec. 20, to vote on the remaining Charlottesville statues Sacagawea, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.

The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is a black-owned museum of history and their plans are to melt down the 1,100-pound relic and turn it into art. The community based shared project, titled “Swords Into Plowshares”, is looking to melt the Lee statue down into metal blocks. Which in turn, will give the community the opportunity to decide what those blocks should be transformed into. The history center launched an indiegogo campaign right after the council vote for anyone to donate to the project. You can click the link here to donate.

The Swords Into Plowshares mission statement is to ”fight racism & make history — help us transform a national symbol of white supremacy into a new work of art that will reflect racial justice and inclusion.” The project’s first phase is planned to last six-months, and looking to cost about $1.1 million. The project has already garnered $590,000 from University of Virginia’s Memory Project, the Open Society Foundations, and Virginia Humanities. The additional $500,000 is already being supplied external sources, there have been almost $17,000 in donations so far. Robert E. Lee’s reformed sculpture is planned to be released to the public by the year 2026.

Take a look at leaders Dr. Andrea Douglas and Dr. Jalane Schmidt spearheading the project.

Jefferson School African American Heritage Center:                                  Swords Into Plowshares Charlottesville

This wont be the last example of Confederate or racist imagery to be removed from public eyes. After 2020’s nationwide protests against systemic racism, 168 monuments were taken down within the country.

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