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Taking Lee down
Author: Raine    Date: 01/02/2023 13:44:55

Late last year, in between Thanksgiving and the holidays, the last of the confederate statues was removed in Richmond, Virginia. Amid the chaos of the season, and the Mid-term elections, it might have been easy to miss.

The final Statue, of A.P. Hill, a former confederate General, took longer since he was actually buried under the statue.
Richmond removed its other Confederate monuments amid the racial justice protests that followed George Floyd’s killing in 2020. But efforts to remove the statue of Confederate General A.P. Hill, which sits in the middle of a busy intersection near a school where traffic accidents are frequent, were more complicated because the general’s remains were interred beneath it.

It took just minutes to free the statue from the base Monday morning, before a crane using yellow straps looped under the statue’s arms lifted it onto a bed of tires on a flatbed truck.

The statue will be given to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.

In September, attorneys for Hill’s indirect descendants agreed his remains would be moved to a cemetery in Culpeper, near where Hill was born. But the plaintiffs argued that the ownership of the statue should be transferred to them. They hoped to move it to a battlefield, also in Culpeper, according to news outlets.
While much news has been made about the removal of these relics of "The Lost Cause", little has been said about who has been taking them down. His name is Devon Henry and his company is Team Henry Enterprises. (article is gifted)
The name carries weight in Richmond these days. Over the past three years, as the former capital of the Confederacy has taken down more than a dozen monuments to the Lost Cause, Henry — who is Black — has overseen all the work.

He didn’t seek the job. He had never paid much attention to Civil War history. City and state officials said they turned to Team Henry Enterprises after a long list of bigger contractors — all White-owned — said they wanted no part of taking down Confederate statues.

For a Black man to step in carried enormous risk. Henry concealed the name of his company for a time and long shunned media interviews. He has endured death threats, seen employees walk away and been told by others in the industry that his future is ruined. He started wearing a bulletproof vest on job sites and got a permit to carry a concealed firearm for protection. (snip)

Over and over, history-minded friends directed Henry to the words of John Mitchell Jr., the civil rights pioneer and editor of the Richmond Planet, a groundbreaking African American newspaper. In 1890, the year the state erected an enormous statue of Robert E. Lee on what would become Monument Avenue, Mitchell wrote about the resilience of the Black person in society.

“The Negro … put up the Lee monument,” Mitchell wrote, “and should the time come, will be there to take it down.”


...Henry had to move fast. His biggest need was finding a crane that could lift the statues. He thought he had one lined up in Hampton Roads, but when the company’s patriarch found out that his son had tentatively agreed, he threatened to cut the son out of the business, Henry said. Eventually, Henry found a willing crane operator in Connecticut.
The statues have come down, but the racism runs deep. The man didn't seek this work but knew it was his path. There are many more people like him that too often go unsung or mentioned. These stories are the ones that matter as much as the removal of hate. We should celebrate them more often. Politicians may make these decisions, but in the end real people have to be brave enough to finish the job.

A Black man would be the person to take Robert E Lee and The Lost Cause down. How fitting.

Happy New Year, friends!



2 comments (Latest Comment: 01/02/2023 22:50:31 by TriSec)
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