The statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson left their pedestals after standing for nearly a century.
Crews worked quickly to unscrew and lift the statues Saturday morning, starting with Lee at Market Street Park at 7 a.m. Work on the Jackson site began shortly before 9 a.m. Both statues were taken to a city facility on Avon Street Extended.
“This is one step closer to reaching the goal of Charlottesville, Virginia, and America grappling with its sin of being willing to enslave Black people,” Mayor Nikuyah Walker said as the crane moved into Market Street Park.
The city has been working toward the removal of the century-old bronze statues for years. A change in state law and a Supreme Court of Virginia decision paved the way for the recent effort. Councilors voted June 7 to remove the statues.
Follow for updates on the day’s events.
City takes down Lewis-Clark-Sacagawea statue, 1:30 p.m.
After the Lee and Jackson statues were removed quicker than expected, City Council voted to remove the statue of Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea during a special meeting at noon Saturday.
Streets in the immediate vicinity of the Ridge-McIntire-West Main Street intersection were closed after 1 p.m. and a team of workers arrived shortly afterward to start the process.
City Manager Chip Boyles told Councilors that meeting was called because the removal of the Confederate statues went so smoothly and quickly that the crew would be able to remove the Lewis-Clark-Sacagawea statue Saturday as well with no additional funding required.
Read more here.
Jackson statue removed, 11 a.m.
The statue of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson began his ride out of downtown Charlottesville on a flatbed truck at around 10:45 a.m. as the surrounding crowd of dozens cheered.
The crew appeared to have some difficulty in removing the statue, hammering between the statue and base to separate the two. The statue was lifted by a crane at around 9:55 a.m. and workers secured it to the truck at 10:03 a.m.
The crowd, which had at least doubled in size since the removal of the Lee statue, loudly cheered and applauded the crew. Some members of the crowd chanted “f*** white supremacy” as the statue was strapped to the truck.
The Jackson removal took a bit longer than the Lee removal. The crane arrived from Market Street Park at around 8:57 a.m. The road across from the statue was briefly closed to pedestrians to allow the trucks to return to the area after removing the Lee statue.
At around 9:15 a.m., the crew began attaching straps to the body of the statue. Shortly before 9:30 a.m., the crew began unscrewing the statue from its base.
Lee statue is removed, 8:30 a.m.
A crowd of onlookers applauded as the statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from its base by a crane and a few workers on a clear, warm Saturday morning; some sang “Hey, hey, goodbye.” A crew then started to load the statue onto a flatbed truck at about 8:12 a.m. and drove away at 8:30 a.m. The crowd applauded and cheered when the truck drove away.
Someone in the crowd shouted “goodbye General Lee! And good riddance!”
The truck was escorted by Charlottesville police in unmarked cars and on bicycles.
The statue will be in city storage until the City Council votes on what will happen to it.
Removal begins on Lee statue, 7:30 a.m.
A crane arrived to remove the Robert E. Lee statue at about 7 a.m. A crew member began unscrewing the statue from the pedestal at approximately 7:25 am. By 8 a.m., red straps were wrapped around the structure. The statue was off its pedestal at 8:05 a.m.
Around 7 a.m., Zyahna Bryant, who started the petition to remove the statues while in high school, addressed the crowd of dozens.
“This is well overdue. We are standing in a park where the city is still refusing to address civic issues … the statues are just the tip of the iceberg,” Bryant said.
Mayor Nikuyah Walker also spoke, thanking the City Council and city officials for their dedication to this removal.
“This is one step closer to reaching the goal of Charlottesville, Virginia, and America grappling with its sin of being willing to enslave Black people,” Walker said.
Walker said this is just a small step and that more needs to be done to address white supremacy within the city and beyond.
Newport News-based firm to remove statues for Charlottesville, 6:20 a.m.
Team Henry Enterprises, the company that removed Confederate statues in Richmond last summer, will do the same for Charlottesville, the city announced early Saturday morning.
Team Henry Enterprises also won the bid to remove the University of Virginia’s George Rogers Clark statue. UVa has not said when that statue will go.
The city, which didn’t put out a public request for construction firms, awarded the contract on an emergency basis. The city has not specified what the emergency is or the cost of the contract.