So much for removing historic Confederate statues and putting them in a museum, where they can at least be preserved for generations to come. That theory lasted about a minute.
Instead of rehoming the infamous statue of Robert E. Lee that used to sit in a town square in Charlottesville, Virginia, the century-old bronze sculpture is getting melted down and turned into “art" by a local black heritage group.
The controversial monument was the epicenter of a clash between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter activists in 2017 – with more than a few everyday Americans getting caught in between.
But after being removed earlier this year, the statue depicting Lee atop his horse, Traveller, will be donated to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, where it will be melted down to be used in a new art installation as part of the organization’s “Swords Into Plowshares” initiative. The project has gained the support of groups like the University of Virginia’s Descendants of Enslaved Communities and the descendants of slaves who worked at former President Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home, according to Fox News.
"Our hope with ‘Swords into Plowshares’ is to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful that can be more reflective of our entire community’s social values," the center's executive director Andrea Douglas said. "We’re giving people opportunities to engage with our own narratives and our own histories. This project offers a road map for other communities to do the same."
So far, the group has raised a stunning $590,000 for the project, with the details of the new “art” piece yet to be announced.