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Charlottesville Council Votes to Donate Lee Statue to Jefferson School

City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 23, 2017.  It was removed in July 2021.
Steve Helber
/
AP
City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va. on Aug. 23, 2017. It was removed in July 2021.

Charlottesville's City Council has voted to give the recently-removed statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee to the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center.

The Black-led non-profit plans to melt down the monument in order to transform its bronze material into a work of public art. The project, called "Swords into Plowshares" will be set up through a community engagement process for local residents.

"We're giving people opportunities to engage with our own narratives and our own histories," said Executive Director Dr. Andrea Douglas. "This project offers a road map for other communities to do the same."

A number of local residents, including Lisa Draine, backed the plan for the Lee statue at Monday's council meeting.

"The Heritage Center will lead a comprehensive community engagement process, giving priority to the voices of the descendants of those enslaved in this area," she said.

The council delayed a vote on plans for sculptures of Stonewall Jackson and Lewis and Clark until its December 20 meeting.

Sandy Hausman is Radio IQ's Charlottesville Bureau Chief
Jeff Bossert is Radio IQ's Morning Edition host.