CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Three entities have already expressed interest in acquiring two statues of Confederate generals from downtown Charlottesville parks, including one that was the focus of a violent white nationalist rally in 2017, according to city officials.
Earlier this month, the city council voted unanimously to remove the statues the statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Virginia requires a 30-day window for the city to offer the statues to any museum, historical society, government or military battlefield.
Officials say three entities have submitted statements of interest so far, according to The Daily Progress. City Manager Chip Boyles said at Monday's council meeting that two of the interested entities are in-state and one is out-of-state. The offer expires July 7.
Cali Gaston, downtown business owner, urged the council to remove the statues as quickly as possible and place them in storage until arrangements can be made.
“Please don’t give them to just any organization offering to pay. They need to be in the hands of an organization that is trusted to speak for the whole community,” Gaston said. “One that will help shift the narrative to one that is inclusive and anti-racist.”
White supremacist and neo-Nazi organizers of the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville said they went to the city to defend the statue of Lee. They clashed with counterprotesters before a white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd of people, killing a woman.
In 1918, the city accepted a resident’s offer to donate land for parks for both statues. The Jackson statue was erected in 1921 and the Lee statue was erected in 1924.