Virginia to begin removal process of Robert E. Lee statue pedestal in Richmond, governor says

The final piece of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia, will be removed starting this week, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Sunday.

The state reached a deal with the city to remove the 40-foot granite pedestal the Lee statue sat on for more than a century. The statue itself — one of the largest remaining historic Confederate statues in the US — was removed in September, about a year after Northam announced his intentions to remove it amid protests for racial justice.

“This land is in the middle of Richmond, and Richmonders will determine the future of this space,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth will remove the pedestal, and we anticipate a safe removal and a successful conclusion to this project.”

The state is expected to begin the process of removing the pedestal on Monday, according to the statement. Once the pedestal has been disassembled, the state plans on storing the partial monument “until next steps have been determined.”

The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond was completed in 1890, according to the National Park Service.

Northam also addressed the 134-year-old time capsule believed to be embedded in the huge pedestal base. Should the capsule be found, Northam said “it will remain under control of the Commonwealth and will be removed for preservation.”

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