On Friday, the city of New Orleans is removing a 20-foot statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Lee’s statue is the fourth and last of Confederate-related statues that the city has removed, although unlike the others, Lee’s statue will be taken down during the day. The removal of the statues followed a 2015 City Council vote; Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ statue was taken down last week; Confederate Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard’s on Wednesday; and a monument memorializing a 1874 white-supremacist uprising was removed in April. The other statues were taken down in pre-dawn hours because there were alleged threats against contractors and workers scheduled to remove them.
The removal started Friday morning:
AP reported that the city issued a news release stating the statues were "erected decades after the Civil War to celebrate the 'Cult of the Lost Cause,' a movement recognized across the South as celebrating and promoting white supremacy."
Mayor Mitch Landrieu has been pushing for the removal of the statues since the 2015 massacre of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church by Dylann Roof, who termed himself a racist and displayed Confederate battle flags in photos.
Landrieu said last month, "We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city.”
"We will no longer allow the Confederacy to literally be put on a pedestal in the heart of our city.”
New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
As for the statues themselves, the city said it has received offers from public and private institutions to take individual monuments; only nonprofits and governmental entities will qualify. The city insisted that anyone who submits a proposal must explain how they would "place the statues in context both in terms of why they were first erected and why the city chose to remove them in 2015.” They are banned from displaying them outdoors on public property within the city.