Statue of Southerner Commander unbolted in US Congress

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Washington | A statue of Southern General Robert Lee, Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Slave States Army, was debunked Sunday-Monday night in the US Congress in Washington.

“Last night, Virginia removed its statue of Robert E. Lee from the US Capitol,” said Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.

“This is an important step,” he said in a statement. “It is high time that we tell our story with symbols of perseverance, diversity, and tolerance”, rather than “racism and division”.

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Confederate South gained its independence from the United States and was fighting to retain slavery, which was abolished in the rest of the country.

Virginia was home to the southern capital, Richmond at the time.

Since 1909, the statue of Robert Lee has therefore represented this state on Capitol Hill, the heart of American legislative power.

But Confederate flags and monuments are now often seen as racist symbols, even though supporters say they see them as a mere legacy of the country’s history.

And the anti-racism movement in the United States, sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in May, has accelerated the dismantling of many monuments to the glory of the Confederate army, either by the authorities or by demonstrators.

The leader of the Democrats in the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, welcomed the initiative, which she said fights “symbols of hatred in the Capitol and across the country”.

This statue should be replaced with that of Barbara Johns, an African-American, civil rights activist.

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