CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – The fate of one of Charlottesville’s statues of a Confederate general is taking another step.
The city and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center went head-to-head with the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Ratcliffe Foundation in court Monday, October 10.
A judge in Charlottesville Circuit Court heard motions for the lawsuit over the Robert E. Lee statue. Some were approved, some denied, but the most notable may be that the location nor who has the statue will be released to the public.
“We again remain very confident in our legal position and we think we will prevail at trial,” Christopher Tate said.
Tate is the attorney for JSAAHC, the organization Charlottesville granted ownership of the Lee statue to. JSAAHC has previously stated it would melt the statue down and recycle it into art.
During Monday’s hearing, Tate pushed to make sure the whereabouts of the Lee statue remain private. The judge agreed.
“As an officer of the court, I’m always confident and hopeful that court’s orders will be followed, all we want is for everybody to be safe,” Tate said.
Only an expert for each side and the lawyers will know where the Lee statue is and what condition it is in.
“I think that we are making significant strides towards the appropriate and proper outcome. Charlottesville made a decision about what it wants to do with its statues, and we’re willing to go through every single one of those processes to make sure that that is the outcome that is required,” JSAAHC Executive Director Andrea Douglas said.
Former Charlottesville City Councilor Kristin Szakos was among those there to support the Swords into Plowshares project.
“The eyes of the world are on our city. The Swords into Plowshares project promises to serve as a model to other communities who are grappling with what to do with these symbols of division. We were one of the first communities to begin a public discussion on removal of Confederate monuments, although we were not among the first to actually remove them,” Szakos, who is a co-founder of Monumental Justice, said.
No one would say what shape the Lee statue is in right now.
“We are backed by the City of Charlottesville, and our aim is to participate in the development of a city that lives up to the values that they espouse,” JSAAHC Board Chair Leah Puryear said.
“We would like to keep up with the positivity and making it a better space for the Black community,” The Voice founder Nya Bryant said.
NBC29 attempted to get the attorneys for the opposing side to speak on camera, but they declined. In short, they initially argued for the statue’s location to be made known. However, they later agreed it should remain private for the time being.
The trial is scheduled for February 1, 2023.
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