After white nationalist groups began a protest that lead to violence in Charlottesville, VA., during protests opposing the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, direct descendants of the Confederate general are denouncing the group.
The general’s great-great-grandson, Robert E. Lee V, reportedly told Newsweek, “There’s no place for that hate.”
Lee said it would make “good sense” to move monuments like the one in Charlottesville to museums so that they could be put in historical context.
“I think that is absolutely an option, to move it to a museum and put it in the proper historical context,” Lee reportedly said. “Times were very different then. We look at the institution of slavery, and it’s absolutely horrendous. Back then, times were just extremely different.”
Lee said the family understands that the issue is “complicated in 2017,” according to Newsweek.
“If you want to put statues of General Lee or other Confederate people in museums, that makes good sense,” Lee said.
Lee and his sister, Tracy Lee Crittenberger, released a statement on Tuesday, condemning the white nationalist groups. They said General Lee would not have tolerated the behavior of the groups.
“At the end of the Civil War, he implored the nation to come together to heal our wounds and to move forward to become a more unified nation,” the statement reads. “He never would have tolerated the hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK, or Neo Nazis.”
After Charlottesville’s city council voted in May to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee from Lee Park, protesters said that “white people” across the country recognize that “a war” of symbolism is under way, and they don’t want the monument removed because it is part of American history.
Now, following the events in Virginia over the weekend, government agencies across the country are making decisions to target and remove symbols of racism such as these confederate monuments.
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