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The visual transformation of the former Lee monument site

The Robert E. Lee Monument on Monument Avenue.
The Robert E. Lee Monument stood on Richmond’s Monument Avenue for more than 130 years. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Protesters gather at the base of the Robert E. Lee Monument in 2020.
Protesters gather at the base of the Robert E. Lee Monument in Richmond. The monument became a focal point for protests that broke out in the city following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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An image of George Floyd is projected onto the base of the Lee Monument.
An image of George Floyd is projected onto the base of the Lee monument. Richmond artists Dustin Klein and Alex Criqui projected several images related to antiracism onto the monument during summer 2020.  (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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An archival black and white photo of the Lee monument is juxtaposed with the landscape in 2021.
A black and white archival photo of the Lee monument is juxtaposed with the statue in 2020. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Del. Delores McQuinn speaks at the 5,000 Man March in June 2020.
Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond) speaks at the 5,000 Man March in June 2020. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Dancers performer in front of the Lee monument.
Dancers with Brown Ballerinas for Change gained national attention for their performances in front of the Lee monument during the protests. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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A sign near the Lee monument says "Marcus-David Peters" circle.
The area around the Lee monument was dubbed Marcus-David Peters Circle by protesters. Peters, a school teacher, was killed by Richmond police in 2018 while suffering a mental health crisis. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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A painting honoring Marcus-David Peters sits at the base of the Lee monument during the summer 2020. 
A painting honoring Marcus-David Peters sits at the base of the Lee monument during summer 2020. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Virginia Capitol Police fenced off the area around the Lee monument in January 2021.
Virginia Capitol Police fenced off the area around the Lee monument in January 2021. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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A worker is raised up in a cherry picker to the Lee statue.
A worker is raised up in a cherry picker to the Lee statue on Sept. 8, 2021, the day the statue was removed from its pedestal. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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After the statue was removed from the pedestal, workers split it in two, lifting the torso of Lee away from its legs.
After the statue was removed from the pedestal, workers split it in two, lifting the torso of Lee away from its legs.  (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Workers stand at the base of the Lee monument.
Workers stand at the base of the Lee monument. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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State workers begin dismantling the base of the Lee monument in December 2021.
State workers begin dismantling the base of the Lee monument in December 2021. (File photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
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Marcus-David Peters Circle surrounded by a fence.
Marcus-David Peters Circle surrounded by a fence on Wednesday. (Photo: Dave Cantor/VPM News)
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For more than a century, a statue of Robert E. Lee Monument stood along Richmond’s Monument Avenue. It was removed Sept. 8, 2021, following more than a year of social justice protests across the country.

The one-year anniversary of its removal comes as the city works toward removing the fence currently encircling the site.

Former Gov. Ralph Northam announced in June 2020 a process through which the statue would be removed. Lawsuits followed, complicating the timeline. Throughout the past two years, VPM News staff photographer Crixell Matthews has documented the protests and changes that have taken place at the roundabout on Monument Avenue.