State Senator Reeves Supporting Lawsuit over Decision to Melt Charlottesville Lee Statue

Senator Bryce Reeves (R-Spotsylvania) is supporting a lawsuit against the City of Charlottesville over the decision to give the Lee statue to a museum that plans to melt it. The lawsuit argues that the city didn’t have a competitive or transparent process to consider offers to take the statue, and additionally argues that melting the statue violates the spirit of state law governing monument removals. According to the lawsuit, the statue has already been delivered to a foundry and broken up, although not yet melted down.

“The City can legally remove, relocate, contextualize or cover the Lee monument, but the General Assembly denied the City authority to alter or destroy it,” the Trevillian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Ratcliffe Foundation state in the lawsuit.

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Charlottesville Will Give Lee Statue to Museum That Plans to Melt It for a New Public Artwork

Charlottesville’s Lee statue will be given to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) to be melted down into bronze ingots and repurposed for the museum’s Swords into Plowshares proposal. In a Monday city council meeting that ran late, councilors voted four to zero to approve the proposal.

The vote happened after discussion focused on the disposition of other removed city statues of Stonewall Jackson and Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. Seeking more information, the council decided to postpone decisions until later in the month, but public commenters at the end of the meeting asked the council to make a decision, leading to the final vote on just the Lee statue. Vice Mayor Sena Magill was absent.

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