During the summer of 2017, photographers took photos of the General Lee statue from every angle, using drones to capture it from above, programming cameras to take twenty-four straight hours of still images, capturing it from dawn to dusk and back to dawn. Reporters interviewed people carrying Confederate flags and weapons and the protestors who couldn’t wait to see Lee removed from his stance above the city. Yet few people ended up seeing the issue differently as a result, though some were moved from a neutral position after seeing the issue in the headlines over and over.
Lee’s final day on the pedestal in 2017 seemed no different. That morning, an older white man brought his daughter to the Uptown side of Lee Circle for a wistful last glimpse, saying his daughter’s family had ties to Lee.
On the CBD side of the Circle, a young African American man talked about a small, everyday struggle of his: his neighbors would never say hello to him, only to his wife, who is white, he said. Others nearby nodded to hear his story, then looked back up at the crane hook and the statue of Lee with a perspective that was not new but was shared.