The New York Times names Richmond’s defaced Robert E. Lee monument 'most influential protest art' days before trial begins
After months of temporary injunctions and lawsuits, a trial determining the fate of the massive, historic General Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia is slated to begin today.
This past June, Governor Ralph Northam ordered the statue removed. Within days, various parties went to court seeking injunctions barring the removal.
While plaintiffs and the state were battling it out in court, the 12-ton monument became the epicenter for Black Lives Matter agitators and their sympathizers. Too enormous for the rioters to tear down, they laid claim to it and the grassy roundabout on which it rests. The Monument Avenue bronze, designated a "masterpiece" in 2006 by the National Register of Historic Places, is now covered with ghettoized graffiti, anti-police slogans, communist symbols, the F-word, and hologram images of career criminal George Floyd and a drug-dealer's girlfriend named Breonna Taylor.
YouTube screen grab.
Coincidentally, four days before the start of the October 19 trial, the New York Times waded into the controversy. Inspired by the "Lord of the Flies" spectacle now assaulting Richmonders along historic Monument Avenue, the NYT enlisted several artists and a museum curator to vote the "reclaimed" state-owned statue and surrounding property the number-one most influential piece of "protest art" since World War II.
In her description and profile of the famous sculpture's transformation and its many supporters making "pilgrimages" to Lee Circle, the NYT propagandist writes:
Over the past several months, activists have transformed the base of the sculpture instead, covering the marble and granite with the names of victims of police violence, protest chants, calls for compassion, revolutionary symbols and anti-police slogans in dozens of colors. New phrases continually appear, adding to the kaleidoscopic display of communal, collective action. People who once avoided the statue now make pilgrimages. The statue and its surrounding lawn are now the site of barbecues, music and dance performances, family get-togethers, voter registration tents, photo shoots, board games, basketball hoops and religious services, as well as ongoing demonstrations, encampments and candlelight vigils. The ultimate fate of the monument remains uncertain[.] ... [A] trial is slated for October 19[.]
Deeming the vandalized monument "protest art" and Lee Circle as a playground for BLM terrorists and their supporters could be a win for Northam in court.
The governor has stated repeatedly he has sole authority to approve the removal of a "work of art" under Code of Virginia section 2.2-2401. Northam ran into a snag when documentation of the original property transfer from families gifting the memorial to the state in the 1880s included a covenant that requires the state to protect and maintain the property in perpetuity. If the state fails to do so, ownership reverts back to the original owners. The 69-year-old great-grandson of two of the land grant signatories filed a lawsuit against Northam on June 8, days after Northam proposed taking down the statue. He later amended his complaint to cite code section 2.2-2402, which requires the governor to adhere to certain provisions regarding the removal of state-owned works of art within thirty days of his announcement. In July, a lawyer for five residents of Monument Avenue opposing the removal of the statue claimed the "verbiage" in the series of 1880s deeds prevents the removal of the statue.
Virginia's Democrat attorney general, Mark Herring, refuted this argument: "People could not put some flowery language into a deed 130 years ago and force Virginia to live with a monument to white supremacy today and on into perpetuity. That certainly cannot be the law."
Apparently, Herring believes that land grants are living documents full of flowery language to be undone and defined by his definition of "white supremacy" in 2020.
The New York Times' timely glorification of the hellish images on full display to anyone daring to venture down Monument Avenue is so patently false that the hologrammed photo chosen for the story conveniently covers the profanities and hate speech splattered all over the statue. What the paper's intrusion into the Lee controversy has done is to ensure that Mayor Levar Stoney and his master Northam will win this case either way. Stay or go — the damage has been done.
Barbecuers and BLM/Antifa criminals swarming around the statue at Lee Circle and intimidating residents who live nearby have erected a shrine to a man who went to prison for stabbing a pregnant woman in the stomach. In Richmond, many believe that unless the state's leadership is dismantled, removing the Lee statue or allowing it to stay is a lose-lose situation.