Chiseling Away at America’s Racist History

On the night of June 18th, 2020 I was standing with a handful of photographers on the outside of the protests that were happening at the monument to disgraced Confederate general Robert E Lee in Richmond Virginia.

Not much was happening but as a photographer, you end up sticking around into the late-night just in case something does. During occupied Wall Street I made a minimal name for myself, as the guy that was always the last one to leave, and thus ended up catching any late-night police actions or protest marches that ended up happening. 

As we were standing on the edge of the crowd we noticed sparks coming out of the base of the monument and an occasional flash. Eventually, we made our way over as it definitely piqued our interest. 

A man was furiously using a small hammer on the enormous base of the monument to the traitor. At first, we laughed as not only was the hammer humorously small but it was not built for stone, especially one as large as this atrocious monument to a slave-owning monster. But after watching this single man strike away at the stone and see small pieces fall away, some of which I have in my possession now, we started taking photos.

As time went on another person joined the gallant struggle against the ridiculous structure in front of them. Using the ball pin end of a small hatchet the other man worked even more fervently against the stone. 

As the night went on others took up the small hammers and chisels and worked on the edges of the monument. They were little marks against a giant, but no matter what happens in the coming days weeks months or years to Robert E Lee, the marks would stay.

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