Protesters are taking ropes and sledgehammers to symbols of oppression, from equestrian statues of Robert E. Lee to Christopher Columbus monuments, but elected and appointed officials are also whisking them away by decree, including a Lee monument in Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy.
In Washington, D.C., the guardians of Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill are considering the removal of numerous marble monuments placed there by former Confederate states to honor leaders of the insurrection.
Historian and former state Rep. Byron Rushing calls taking down Confederate monuments a “no-brainer” but says taking action on public statues like the emancipation memorial figures requires more caution.
While the fate of the Emancipation Statue is debated, one rarely cited fact about Confederate monuments exposes the fragile arguments of their defenders: Robert E. Lee himself opposed them.
According to Lee biographer Jonathan Horn, the former commander of the Army of Northern Virginia consistently turned down requests to support the erection of monuments to Confederate leaders and even supported getting rid of the Confederate flag after the Civil War ended.