RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Black-led non-profit in Charlottesville is planning on melting down the city’s notorious Robert E. Lee statue, and commissioning an artist to transform the bronze metal into a work of public art.
The Charlottesville City Council voted yes this week on giving the recently removed statue to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.
The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center (JSAAHC) has decided to name the metamorphosis project, “Swords into Plowshares”, and is planning on incorporating community feedback into the project.
The non-profit is expecting “Swords into Plowshares” to execute a show of “the value of inclusion” in the new public work-of-art and space.
“Our hope with ‘Swords into Plowshares’ is to create something that transforms what was once toxic in our public space into something beautiful that can be more reflective of our entire community’s social values,” explained JSAAHC Executive Director Dr. Andrea Douglas.
The Lee monument became the crisis-point of the deadly 2017 “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville, in which Heather Heyer was struck by a car driving through crowds, and killed.
“We’re giving people opportunities to engage with our own narratives and our own histories. This project offers a road map for other communities to do the same.” Douglas said.
The Jefferson School is encouraging grassroots support for the “Swords into Plowshares” project, and said they have already received $590,000 in donations from non-profits.