The infamous statue of Robert E. Lee removed from a public square in Charlottesville, Va earlier this year will be melted down and made into a new piece of art.
The new art piece that will replace the statue and will be titled “Swords Into Ploughshares,” according to Yahoo! News. The design of the status will be based on input from the larger community.
The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center came up with the proposal, which was accepted by The Charlottesville City Council.
According to one city council member, the project’s purpose is “to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful and more reflective of our entire community’s social values.”
The plans comes as Governor Northam announced the removal of the pedestal in Richmond where another Lee statue once stood. Scaffolding currently sits around the pedestal as crews work to remove it. However, the official removal of the pedestal in Richmond could take weeks, and span into the new year.
Plans for the statue come more than four years after deadly white supremacist attack
Charlottesville, Virginia, is the location of the infamous Unite the Right protest.
In August of 2017, white supremacists marched through the city with tiki torches. Video showed the rioters screaming “Jews will not replace us,” among other racial epithets. One woman, Heather Heyer, died when a white supremacist plowed his car through a crowd of peaceful protestors. The riot and attack was reportedly fueled by recently announced plans to remove the statue.
Four years later, many citizens are happy with the changes taking place in their city.
According to Jalane Schmidt, director of the Memory Project at the University of Virginia’s Democracy Initiative, “It’s taking something that was static and molding and melding it into a new substance, and then having a community dialogue with an artist about how to transform the material into something new.”