As towns across America struggle with what to do about Confederate monuments, the city where this all started, Charlottesville, Virginia, has opted for a strange compromise, and will cover the town's statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in black fabric.
According to a report in The Daily Progress, the "Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously early Tuesday morning to cover the city’s statues of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in black fabric."
The covering will, reportedly, represent the city's mourning of Heather Heyer, the woman killed in a domestic terror attack carried out by a white nationalist during a protest over the removal of the city's statue of Robert E. Lee. The Council says that it will consider more permanent solutions in the near future.
Charlottesville has suffered tremendous division as a result of what happened that Saturday. During the city council meeting, both enraged activists and residents took issue with how Charlottesville police handled the rally, accusing them of not keeping the peace between the white nationalists and Antifa, and "standing down" as tensions mounted and the dueling demonstrations eventually got out of hand.
According to local media, some residents began cursing at those in authority during the meeting, demanding they resign at once, which resulted in three arrests for disorderly conduct.
The national debate over whether to remove symbols of the Confederacy — including monuments and flags — has been raging locally in southern states for some time. Back in 2015, Virginia, along with several other states, debated removing their statues after white supremacist Dylan Roof opened fire on an all-black church in Charleston. At the time, then-South Carolina governor Nikki Haley ordered state buildings to cease flying the Confederate flag.
This time around, the debate has taken on a markedly different tenor. As states and municipalities struggle with how to address the problem, vigilantes have waged their own campaign against the monuments, in some cases causing major damage to state and federal property. Those vandals have not limited their ire just to statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate generals, but are now targeting monuments to Christopher Columbis, and even Catholic saints. Campaigns have even cropped up to strip parks named after Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson of their names.