The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center in Charlottesville, Virginia has melted down the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, which once stood in the city. The statue had been removed in 2021 after a lengthy court battle led by the city’s left-wing, pro-BLM government. The decision to melt down the statue was made as part of an effort to create new “public art” that advances a left-wing race narrative.
The statue of General Lee and his war horse, Traveller, was cut into pieces before being melted down in a furnace with temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The melting down of the statue was described by Fox News as a “secret” and “symbolic ceremony”. The destruction of the statue, along with other Confederate statues, has drawn comparisons to Soviet conquest and humiliation rituals.
As reported by National File in December 2021, the Lee statue was given to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, a black history museum, to be melted down and repurposed into modern art. The museum’s executive director, Andrea Douglas, explained that the art created from the statue would help Charlottesville confront its racist past. In an unusual move, the “repurposed” bronze of the statue will be returned to the City of Charlottesville, where it will be re-erected on city property.
The removal of the Lee statue was accompanied by the removal of a statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, as well as a statue depicting explorers George Lewis and Meriwether Clark. The removal of the Lewis and Clark statue also erased the presence of their Shoshone Indian guide, Sacagawea, from the city’s history. The city council has not yet revealed its plans for the statues aside from Lee, but council members have hinted at the possibility of destroying and transforming them into left-wing art.
Critics of the city council and the Jefferson School have accused the black history museum of “looting” the Lee statue by melting down its bronze. They likened this act to the unsuccessful attempt by the Northam Administration to loot a time capsule from the Lee Monument in Richmond. After tearing down the Lee statue in Richmond, the Northam Administration replaced the time capsule, buried in the monument’s base, with a new one filled with Black Lives Matter paraphernalia. Unfortunately, they were unable to find the original time capsule and retrieve the Civil War artifacts hidden inside.
Despite promises by Democrat politicians and activists that historic monuments removed from public spaces would be relocated to museums or battlefields, the fate of many of these monuments remains uncertain. Monuments removed by the Northam Administration in Richmond are currently sitting in warehouses, despite offers from various groups to rescue them at no expense to the state. The Statutory Park at Gettysburg Battlefield offered to take the Lee and Jackson monuments from Charlottesville to display alongside other Civil War relics, but the city declined the offer, choosing instead to melt down the Lee statue for its bronze.
The melting down of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville and the uncertain fate of other removed monuments raise questions about the true intentions behind the removals. Critics argue that the destruction of these statues and the transformation of their materials into art reflect a left-wing agenda that goes against the promises made by proponents of the removals. The controversy surrounding these actions continues to fuel debates about the preservation of history and the appropriate ways to address problematic aspects of the past.