In the day since President Trump went rogue and doubled down on his insistence that both sides of the Charlottesville protests were to blame for the violence that left one woman dead and dozens, if not hundreds of people injured, many people have stated publicly that they disagree with the President’s comments. The latest group: the family of Confederate general and statue subject Robert E. Lee:
Three days after Charlottesville, Virginia, erupted into violence and racial unrest, the family of Robert E. Lee is denouncing the white nationalist groups who rallied and marched to preserve a statue of the long-dead Civil War general.
“There’s no place for that,” Robert E. Lee V tells Newsweek, referring to the white supremacist protesters who carried torches and marched through Charlottesville on Friday. “There’s no place for that hate.”
The Lee statue in Charlottesville was erected in 1924, but the city council decided to remove it from Emancipation Park (after also renaming the park), noting to many the statues are “painful reminders of the violence and injustice of slavery and other harms of white supremacy that are best removed from public spaces.”
Lee, the great-great-grandson of the general also issued a statement along with Tracy Lee Crittenberger, his sister, condemning the “hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK or neo-Nazis.”
Lee then told Newsweek how the family doesn’t “want people to think that they can hide behind Robert E. Lee’s name and his life for these senseless acts of violence that occurred on Saturday.” Lee also said the statue should be placed in a museum:
“I think that is absolutely an option, to move it to a museum and put it in the proper historical context,” Lee says. “Times were very different then. We look at the institution of slavery, and it’s absolutely horrendous. Back then, times were just extremely different. We understand that it’s complicated in 2017, when you look back at that period of time…If you want to put statues of General Lee or other Confederate people in museums, that makes good sense.”
Lee also said that he was raised to believe that Gen. Lee was fighting for Virginia, not to preserve the institution of slavery. The younger Lee, however, says it should be up to local communities to figure out what to do with these statues.