Confederate monument melted down to create new, more inclusive public art

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Communities across the American South have removed Confederate monuments from public spaces in recent years. Some have gone to museums, others are locked away in storage.

But one particularly controversial statue from Charlottesville, Va. is on a different journey — to be transformed into something new.

The massive bronze sculpture of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in uniform, astride his horse Traveler, stood in a downtown Charlottesville park for nearly a century. It was at the center of a deadly white nationalist rally in 2017, when Neo-Nazis and white supremacists tried to stop the city’s plans to remove the statue.

It came down to cheers in July of 2021.

“Today the statue comes down and we are one small step closer to a more perfect union,” said then-mayor Nikuyah Walker.

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