The Lee statue at the center of the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was just melted.
Here is Teo Armus and Hadley Green at The Washington Post:
It was a choice to melt down Robert E. Lee. But it would have been a choice to keep him intact, too.
So the statue of the Confederate general that once stood in Charlottesville — the one that prompted the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in 2017 — was now being cut into fragments and dropped into a furnace, dissolving into a sludge of glowing bronze.
Six years ago, groups with ties to the Confederacy had sued to stop the monument from being taken down. Torch-bearing white nationalists descended on the Virginia college town to protest its removal, and one man drove his car through a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 35 others.
The statue’s defenders more recently sought to block the city from handing Lee over to Charlottesville’s Black history museum, which proposed a plan to repurpose the metal. In a lawsuit, those plaintiffs suggested the century-old monument should remain intact or be turned into Civil War-style cannons.
But on Saturday the museum went ahead with its plan in secret at this small Southern foundry outside Virginia, in a town and state The Washington Post agreed not to name because of participants’ fears of violence.
“Well, they can’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” said Andrea Douglas, the museum’s executive director, as she watched pieces of oxidized metal descend into the furnace. “There will be no tape for that.”
“No cannons,” added Jalane Schmidt, a University of Virginia religious studies professor standing beside her.
Swords Into Plowshares, a project led by the two women, will turn bronze ingots made from molten Lee into a new piece of public artwork to be displayed in Charlottesville. They made arrangements for Lee to be melted down while they started collecting ideas from city residents for that new sculpture.
Read the rest here.