‘I have family members who are shaking in their boots’: Citizens react to Lee monument being removed

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 7:18 PM EDT
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Emotions ran high Thursday following Gov. Ralph Northam’s announcement to remove the monument of Robert E. Lee.

“There are members of my family that are shaking in their boots. I know Robert E. Lee is rolling in his grave and I say let him roll,” Robert W. Lee said.

Lee is a fourth-generation nephew and stood on the monument that honors his namesake, joining others in support of tearing down his family’s legacy.

The monument has been in the city of Richmond for exactly 130 years.

“We don’t need these hate statues that have been up here for years. I’ve seen these every day since I was a little kid and it’s about time that these go down,” John More said.

“Seeing it made me upset and angry,” Asia White said.

Asia White came to the statue in full Pomp and Circumstance. White wanted the monument to be her background for her senior pictures.

“This is our celebration and the monuments coming down is a celebration for Virginia,” White said.

It wasn’t just a day filled with those who wanted to see the statue removed but also many who wanted to see it stay.

“I’m here supporting my monuments. My history and my heritage. My ancestors fought in Virginia,” Will Smith said.

Will Smith came from Halifax County to defend something he holds near and dear to his heart.

“It’s a feeling that you are carrying on your family’s traditions,” Smith said.

“I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and I will never set foot in Richmond, Virginia again,” a man from the Virginia Flaggers said.

“If they take those monuments down the residents on Monument Avenue and Historic District then their property values will plummet,” another person said.

“Damn a monument. It’s not about a monument. It’s about men and women being killed because of how they look,” Mike Jones said.

Richmond City Councilman Mike Jones said it’s a day he never thought he would see.

It’s a long fight that brought the city leader to tears.

“It was when my kids came out and took a picture and said, ‘dad, we are proud of the fight that you are in,’” Jones said.

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