Virginia is set to remove Richmond's Lee statue on Wednesday

Patrick McSweeney, an attorney for plaintiffs in one of the cases, said Monday he plans to notify the Supreme Court that he will request a retrial, but such requests are rarely granted. From 2016 to 2020, the court approved samples in only two of the 86 requests it received, said L. Steven Emmert, an appellate attorney who publishes a website that focuses on appeal decisions in Virginia.

“The chances are extremely slim,” said Emmert.

The imposing 21-foot bronze likeness of Lee on horseback sits on a granite pedestal nearly twice as high in the grassy center of a roundabout on Richmond’s famous Monument Avenue

“Virginia’s largest memorial to the Confederate Uprising will fall this week,” Northam said in a press release on Monday. “This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as the Commonwealth.”

In Monday’s press release, state officials said preparations for the statue’s removal would begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday when the crews install protective fences.

Once the statue is lifted from its pedestal, it is slated to be cut in half for transportation, though the final plan may change, said Dena Potter, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of General Services.

After the statue was dismantled on Wednesday, the crews will remove plaques from the base of the monument on Thursday and replace a time capsule believed to be there.

In Richmond, a city that was the Confederation capital for much of the Civil War, the Lee statue became the epicenter of the protest movement last summer. The city has removed more than a dozen other Confederate statues on city land since Floyd’s death.

As one of the largest and most famous Confederate statues in the country, the removal of the Lee Statute is expected to attract large crowds.

Limited viewing options will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis, state officials said in Monday’s press release. The removal is also broadcast through the governor’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, both of which have the handle @governorVA.

The Lee statue was created by the internationally renowned French sculptor Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercie and is considered a “masterpiece” according to its nomination in the National Register of Historic Places, where it has been listed since 2007.

When the statue arrived from France in 1890, an estimated 10,000 Virginians were using carts to transport their pieces over a mile to their current location. White residents celebrated the statue, but many black residents have long viewed it as a memorial glorifying slavery.

The Northam government has announced that it will seek public opinion on the statue’s future. The 12-meter-high granite pedestal is left behind for the time being to rethink the design of Monument Avenue. Some racial justice advocates do not want it removed as they see the graffiti-covered pedestal as a symbol of the protest movement that broke out after Floyd’s murder.

Lawrence West, 38, a member of BLM RVA, an activist group occupying the converted space at the Lee Memorial, said he believes the decision to remove the statue was driven by the work of protesters.

“I mean, it had never come before. They (democrats responsible for the state government) had all the possibilities in the world. “

West said he would like to see the statue site converted into a common room “to cultivate all kinds of connections between different people.”

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