February 09, 2017
A statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee astride his trusty steed Traveller could soon be evicted from a Charlottesville, Virginia, park named in his honor after the city’s council voted to remove the revered Confederate general, WTOP News reported Thursday.
“The measure, which passed Monday, gives city officials two months to recommend how to move the equestrian monument, which has been there since 1924,” WTOP said.
The city council still has to work out how to finance the removal of the statue, estimated to cost $300,000, according to WTOP. Cost considerations were one reason opponents of the decision cited for voting against the resolution.
“All I see in the wake of this destructive act is more division,” WTOP quoted city Councilwoman Kathy Galvin as saying. “The relocation of a statue can also seem reckless when it’s done without knowing the cost, without knowing a location and without knowing the expected outcomes.”
Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is considered a generally liberal-leaning jurisdiction in what is still largely a conservative state. Other jurisdictions in the Old Dominion and neighboring Maryland have recently taken steps to remove memorials to perceived controversial historic figures.
In September, another liberal Virginia city, Alexandria, approved a resolution to rename a road through the city named after Confederate States president Jefferson Davis. The resolution also called on the state legislature to authorize removal of a monument to the city’s Confederate war dead.
In October, a local historic preservation body in Frederick, Maryland, voted to relocate a bust of Roger Taney from outside the city’s courthouse to the cemetery where he was buried.
Taney, a Maryland native who served as the Supreme Court’s fifth chief justice, was the author of the infamous Dred Scott decision and himself a slaveowner.