The massive bronze sculpture of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, in uniform, astride his horse Traveller, 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.
Dr. Jalane Schmidt has been part of the group of activists, scholars, and historians fighting not only to have the statue removed, but to doing something transformative and radical with it – melt it down. In this interview, she discusses the long legal battles to arrive at this moment, the ways armed Neo-Conferederates terrorized the public space surrounding the monument for years, and why melting it down was a moral risk worth taking.
Swords Into Plowshares: https://sipcville.com/
Gift link Washington Post article which includes exclusive video footage of the Lee statue meltdown, as well as an interview with me in which I discuss “moral risk” of iconoclasm: https://wapo.st/3QGfJVp
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene denounced Swords Into Plowshares from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives: https://x.com/chelliepingree/status/1720233516435120373?s=46&t=DFpnhdJ2ioBJpzPu9Ngbxw
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