New Orleans set to remove Robert E. Lee statue

The Lee statue has stood atop Lee Circle – previously known as Tivoli Circle before also being renamed for General Lee – since 1884. “They may have been warriors, but in this cause, they were not patriots”.

In Anderson County, South Carolina ― home to about 42,000 African-Americans ― there’s a statue that reads, in part: “The world shall yet decide, in truth’s clear, far-off light, that the soldiers who wore the gray, and died with Lee, were in the right”.

“For me, this landmark has always been a symbol of exploitation and oppression and white supremacy”, Suber said. The New Orleans City Council approved the move later that year.

The statue is set to be dismantled beginning at 9 a.m. One camp denounces the monuments as tributes to white supremacists. “These monuments celebrate a fictional account of the Confederacy”.

Landrieu said Friday afternoon that the monuments represent a “sanitized” view of the Confederacy. It caps a almost two-year-long process that has been railed against by those who feel the monuments are a part of Southern heritage and honor the dead. The original contractor hired by the city backed out after his employees received death threats and his vehicle was set on fire.

The workers on the job have been wearing bullet-proof vests.

Critics of the removal process that has seen three Confederate-era monuments come down in recent months, with the Robert E. Lee statue soon to be the fourth, are “eerily silent” about that chapter of history, Landrieu said.

That public space continues to be named Lee Circle. In 1891, it was a gathering spot for the mob responsible for the largest mass lynching in American history: the killing of 11 Italian American men for their alleged role in the murder of the city’s police chief, David Hennessy.

The statues will be put into storage while the city looks for a suitable place to display them, the mayor has said. City authorities have reportedly received a number of proposals from various public and private organizations.

But after decades standing sentinel over this Southern city, the Confederate monuments are gone, amid a controversy that at times hearkened back to the divisiveness of the Civil War they commemorated. “The cultural, economic, and spiritual loss to the city for having those statues up that have run people out of the city”.

The removal ended 133 years for the statue at the piece of land that connects New Orleans’ Uptown and Garden District areas with the CBD and French Quarter.

Melanie Morel-Ensminger, a Unitarian minister from New Orleans, who is in favor of the removal of confederate monuments, watches as workers prepare to take down the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lee Circle in New Orleans, Friday, May 19, 2017.

The Louisiana Legislature is considering a measure that would hinder local governments from removing war memorials, including those from the Civil War.

The city wants to finish the work during its tricentennial year.

But clearing out the monuments has been highly controversial.

One onlooker, John Renner, a white man and an IL native, said the statue should remain because it represents history. “If Harriet Tubman can replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, certainly we can do the same?”