Work begins to remove Robert E. Lee monument base in Richmond

Posted at 11:48 AM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 12:17:26-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The process of removing the 40-foot granite pedestal that a massive statue of Robert E. Lee sat on for years along Monument Avenue in Richmond began Monday.

The statue of Lee on his horse was removed from the pedestal nearly three months ago.

Governor Ralph Northam announced Sunday the pedestal would be removed before the end of the year and that the state was giving that property where the statue once stood to the City of Richmond.

The Department of General Services told CBS 6 scaffolding would go up around the entire pedestal Monday and Tuesday.

The contractor would start removing blocks on Wednesday.

Lee monument pedestal

“I look at it as new beginnings and a chance to open up again for community space," Lawrence West, founder and CEO of Black Lives Matter Richmond, said.

West said the removal of the pedestal marked the next step in making Richmond more inclusive.

“I think this was a long time in the making," West said. "I don’t think the things that happened here had to happen."

But not everyone was as thrilled to watch the removal process begin.

One Richmond woman, who said she did not want to share her opinion on camera, said she was sad to see this piece of history taken away.

The removal is expected to take a month to complete.

The pedestal would be placed in storage.

The final location for the statue and its base has not yet been decided.

“I’d like to see it go into a museum where it’s not necessarily profited off of," West said. "I know that's kind of hard, but at the same time where it has free access to Richmonders, so that way you can see how we changed history, how we changed the future."

What will become of the circle of land on Monument Avenue is also still up in the air.

After the state gives the land to the city, some would like to see a green space for the community to gather.

“I think the same things that were there before, as far as like a forum for people who are artists, musicians, like a play area, a basketball court, even park benches," said West.

Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin declined an interview on this topic, but his spokesperson pointed us to a statement Youngkin made in September reading in part, “ I hope they move it to a battlefield or a museum so we don’t lose the fact that we have a history and we all need to know it.”



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