Robert E. Lee remains defiant in the U.S. Capitol, where his statue stands in a place of honor a year after the race-tinged clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought renewed attention to him and other figures of the Confederacy.
Efforts to oust him have come to nought, with Lee’s opponents running into roadblocks both legal and political.
The same is true in Charlottesville, where the bronze statue of Lee astride his horse Traveler sits, despite having been the spark in the Aug. 12, 2017, violence that left one counterprotester dead, a dozen people on both sides facing charges, and a country wondering how the wounds of the Civil War could still run so deep.
In both cases, the common factor is Virginia. A state law has prevented Charlottesville from taking down the statue, and it was the state legislature that sent the Lee statue to the Capitol early last century as part of the state’s two donations to the Statuary Hall collection.