VA Governor Livestreams Removal Of Gen. Robert E. Lee Statue

Crews work to remove one of the country's largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy on Wednesday morning, a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond.
Crews work to remove one of the country’s largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy on Wednesday morning, a towering statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

RICHMOND, VA — The office of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will be livestreaming the removal of the 12-ton statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

After a crane lifts the 12-ton statue of Lee and his horse, Traveler, to the ground, workers will cut the statue into three pieces for transport to a storage facility.

On Wednesday, the public can watch the governor’s livestream of the removal of the statue from its pedestal. The next day, views can watch a livestream of a new time capsule being placed inside the concrete pedestal of the Lee statue, replacing the original time capsule from 1887.

The public may also watch the two-day event in person, although space will be limited. A designated public viewing section will be located on Monument Avenue to the east of the monument site. Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, entry to the public viewing area will be on Monument Avenue at Stuart.

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Artifacts for the new time capsule were suggested by members of the public, and narrowed down to 39 final choices by a committee that included historians from the Richmond region’s historical and cultural museums and members of Northam’s cabinet.

Find out what’s happening in Richmond with free, real-time updates from Patch.

Let’s go!

The public watch crews work to remove one of the country’s largest remaining monuments to the Confederacy, a towering statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)

The 39 artifacts are intended to reflect the cultural moment in the history of Virginia and the nation, according to Northam’s office. They include a vaccination card, a photo of a Black ballerina in front of the statue, a Black Lives Matter sticker, a face mask and a poem written in Unified English Braille.

Historians believe a copper time capsule was placed in the cornerstone of the Lee pedestal on Oct. 27, 1887. Records from the Library of Virginia suggest that 37 Richmond residents, organizations and businesses contributed about 60 objects to the capsule, many of which are believed to be related to the Confederacy.

After the statue is removed from atop the pedestal on Wednesday, the original time capsule will be removed on Thursday and handed over to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

The new time capsule, crafted by Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale, will then be placed inside the pedestal.

“In the midst of demonstrations and reclaiming space, my photo of Black ballerina at America’s largest Confederate statue made national headlines in June 2020, surprising and inspiring viewers,” said photographer Marcus Ingram, whose photo will be included in the time capsule.

Among the members of the committee that chose the artifacts for the new time capsule were Heather Anderson, community engagement coordinator at Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia; Jamie Bosket, CEO of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture; Christy Coleman, executive director of Jamestown Yorktown Foundation; state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-District 9); Pamela Northam, first lady of Virginia; Scott Stroh, executive director of Gunston Hall; and Dr. Sandra Treadway, Librarian of Virginia.

Visit the governor’s Facebook page or his Twitter handle on Wednesday to watch the removal of the Lee statue and on Thursday to watch the removal of the old time capsule and the placement of the new time capsule inside the statue’s pedestal.