CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center is planning on melting down Charlottesville’s statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee by February and transform it into a work of public art.

“It feels really, really eminent and historic,” Executive Director Dr. Andrea Douglas said. “We don’t want to take our trauma and have it moved to another community. The idea that you take an object that has so many connotations that are associated with white supremacy, and then allow it to go to another community where they have to contend with those objects. It feels immoral to us.”

Douglas says the entire public art project, Swords into Plowshares, will cost about $1.1 million.

“We have already raised $590,000 in gifts from the Virginia Humanities Open Source, which is one of the largest foundations in the country. They have already participated in monument processes,” Douglas said.

Jalane Schmidt is the director of the UVA Democracy Initiatives Memory Project, which is a co-sponsor of the art project.

“The statute will still be here. It’ll be here with us. Whatever gets created out of these repurposed materials will be here with us,” Schmidt said.

This work of art, Schmidt says, will narrate the entire story of how the statue came to be.

Click here if you’re interested in donating to the Swords into Plowshares project.

RELATED: Charlottesville gives Lee statue to organization with plans to melt, transform it

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