ASHEVILLE, NC (Citizen-Times) – A downtown Asheville monument to Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Dixie Highway, at the foot of the Vance Monument, has been literally de-faced.
Lee’s visage, imprinted on a bronze plaque attached to a large piece of granite, has been scratched through as has much of the text beneath it. The scratches appear to be shallow but deep enough to remove some texture of the raised engraving.
Neither Asheville Police nor the city’s Parks and Recreation Department could be reached for comment Friday. City employees had the day off in honor of Good Friday.
A group of about 40 demonstrators with BeLoved Asheville stopped at the monument Friday afternoon while marching through downtown, raising attention for those who are "still being crucified today." That group includes African-Americans, incarcerated people, and those in the LGBTQ community, demonstrators said.
While stopped at the already vandalized monument, demonstrators read the names of hundreds of slaves who, they said, were sold at Pack Square. Many, it seemed, were not distraught by the defacing of Lee’s plaque.
"My people were sold here back in the day," said demonstrator Ernest Brewster. "This is where they brought black people to be sold. Every time I walk past here, it makes me mad a little bit."
The Lee monument, like many shrines to the Confederacy elsewhere in the state and county, has been the target of vandalism before.
The upper right corner of the plaque is still damaged after protesters in August wedged two crowbars between the piece of bronze and its granite housing. The corner is bent and separated from the stone.
Police arrested four Asheville residents in connection with the August vandalism, which was a response to the White Nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12.
The monument was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1926, more than 60 years after the end of the Civil War.