RICHMOND, Va. — Crews on Wednesday removed an enormous statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from Richmond, Virginia's famed Monument Avenue, 131 years after it was erected and 156 years after his surrender effectively ended the U.S. Civil War.
It capped a year-long legal battle between the state of Virginia and supporters of the monument that sought to keep it in place.
The removal came less than a week after the Virginia Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the state could remove the statue.
"This was a long time coming, part of the healing process so Virginia can move forward and be a welcoming state with inclusiveness and diversity,” said Gov. Ralph Northam, according to the Associated Press.
Onlookers cheered as the statue was lifted off of the pedestal, which remains covered in graffiti following last year's protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Some chanted the song "Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)" as the statue was lowered to the ground.
Where will Lee go?
The Lee statue, according to the state, will be placed "in secure storage at a state‐owned facility" until a decision is made about its final resting spot. The Associated Press reports that crews have cut the statue "into at least two pieces" to facilitate transportation.
This story was originally published by staff at WTVR.