The great-great-great-great nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee has said that it is time to take down the statues of his ancestor.
The Huffington Post reports that the Rev. Robert Wright Lee, IV, who is a minister living in North Carolina, spoke out following the rally and violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
White nationalist groups held a “Unite the Right” rally around a controversial statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville. One person was killed in the ensuing violence and 35 were injured.
“It broke my heart to see a symbol of my family being used to allow such hate,” Lee told HuffPost. “All in the name of what my relative stood for.”
The Charlottesville statue of Lee was erected in 1924, during a time when Jim Crow laws flourished in the South, following the Civil War. To many, Lee has come to symbolize what the HuffPost calls “The Lost Cause” of the Civil War.
Lee acknowledged that he may not speak for all of General Lee’s descendants, but personally he believes the statues of his ancestor should be taken down due to what they have come to represent.
“These statues have morphed into a symbol of racism, a symbol of bigotry, a symbol of the alt-right, a symbol of white nationalist movements,” he said. “That is not okay and that can never be celebrated or honored in any way, whether you believe you should honor legacy or ancestors or not.”
Other statues, monuments, and memorials to General Lee are prevalent around the South.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: August 15, 2017