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'Take 'em Down': A Surprising Stance by Descendants of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson


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Anonymous, an international network of hacktivists, announced a day of action Friday, August 18, calling on its followers to tear down Confederate statues across America.

Their purpose for this so-called "Denouncement Day:" To tear down symbols of hate.

As the national conversation continues about whether or not these statues should be destroyed, a new voice is being added to the mix. 

A handful of descendants of Confederate Civil War leaders are speaking up, and they're agreeing that the statues should go if it means that the United States will finally heal.

Speaking to Newsweek, Robert E. Lee V said his great, great grandfather didn't believe in the sort of message being preached by white supremacists, the KKK or neo-Nazis.

"Our belief is that General Lee would not tolerate that sort of behavior either. His first thing to do after the Civil War was to bring the Union back together, so we could become a more unified country," said Lee. 

"We don't want people to think that they can hide behind Robert E. Lee's name and his life for these senseless acts of violence that occurred (in Charlottesville)," Lee continued.

He says the statues should be moved to a museum and put into the proper "historical context."

The great-great-grandson of Stonewall Jackson told the Associated Press that he believes the statue of his Confederate ancestor was actually constructed as a symbol of white supremacy and now simply glorifies a shameful era of slavery.

"They were constructed to be markers of white supremacy. They were constructed to make black people fearful," Jack Christian said. "I can only imagine what persons of color who have to walk and drive by those every morning think and feel."

Christian said that in light of the recent racially charged violence, he doesn't believe the statues belong, even with the right historical context.

Christian and his brother wrote in a letter to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney that they're not ashamed of their ancestor, they're ashamed to, "benefit from white supremacy while our black family and friends suffer. We are ashamed of the monument."

The violence in Charlottesville last weekend brought several swift decisions by city officials to remove other Confederate monuments across the country. 

Four Confederacy-related monuments were take down in Baltimore and in Birmingham, Alabama the mayor ordered an obelisk honoring Confederate soldiers and sailors be boarded up. 

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About The Author

Caitlin Burke Headshot

Caitlin Burke serves as National Security Correspondent and a general assignment reporter for CBN News. She has also hosted the CBN News original podcast, The Daily Rundown. Some of Caitlin’s recent stories have focused on the national security threat posed by China, America’s military strength, and vulnerabilities in the U.S. power grid. She joined CBN News in July 2010, and over the course of her career, she has had the opportunity to cover stories both domestically and abroad. Caitlin began her news career working as a production assistant in Richmond, Virginia, for the NBC affiliate WWBT