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Monument honoring abolition of slavery unveiled in Richmond, Virginia, weeks after removing Robert E. Lee statue

Emancipation and Freedom Monument unveiled
Emancipation and Freedom Monument unveiled in Virginia 02:00

A monument dedicated to the abolition of slavery was unveiled in Richmond, Virginia, on Wednesday, two weeks after a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was taken down 2 miles away.

The Emancipation and Freedom Monument portrays two 12-foot bronze statues of a man, a woman and an infant after being freed from slavery. The woman is holding the child and a piece of paper with the January 1, 1863, date — the day when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The man is shown having whip scars and appears to be breaking free from shackles.

The monument on Brown's Island also honors the contributions of 10 Black Virginians who fought for freedom before and after emancipation.

Emancipation statue is unveiled in Richmond
The Emancipation and Freedom Monument, designed by Thomas Jay Warren, is shown on the day it was unveiled in Richmond, Virginia.  JAY PAUL / REUTERS

The statue was commissioned by the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission and it began as a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The monument was designed by Oregon sculptor Thomas Jay Warren. 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said at the opening ceremony that removing the Robert E. Lee statue was one of his proudest moments as governor and the new monument represents Virginia of today and the future, CBS affiliate WTVR reported. 

"They're symbols of a Virginia that's reckoning with ugliness and inequality," Northam said. "A Virginia that's taking a deep hard look into what we need to do better and how to get there, a Virginia that tells the truth of our past so we can build a better future together." 

The 21-foot-tall statue of Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue was taken down on September 8. Graham had announced plans to remove the statue in 2020, shortly after nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice broke out following the murder of George Floyd.

Virginia removes Robert E. Lee statue from capital 01:36
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