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Lee statue at center of 2017 conflict will be melted down and repurposed as racial justice artwork

The City Council of Charlottesville, Va., voted on Tuesday to donate a statue of Robert E. Lee to an African American heritage center that plans to melt the monument, the focus of a deadly white nationalist rally in 2017, into bronze for a new piece of public artwork.

The 4-0 vote by the council followed years of debate over the fate of the statue. Four years ago, a plan to remove the statue drew scores of white nationalists to Charlottesville for a “Unite the Right” rally that led to violence, including the killing of a counterprotester by an Ohio man who plowed a car into a crowd.

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