About Us

The Swords Into Plowshares project is led by a steering committee and an advisory council.


The steering committee includes Andrea Douglas, Executive Director of the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center; Jalane Schmidt, professor of Religious Studies at UVA and Director of the Memory Project at UVA's Democracy Initative; Frank Dukes, professor of Architecture at UVA; & Claire Antone Payton, Manager of the Memory Project. 


The advisory committee includes Elizabeth Birdsall,  Maureen Brondyke,  Michael Cheuk,  Ben Doherty,  Matthew Gibson,  Alan Goffinski,  Benita Mayo,  Tobiah Mundt,  Kat Maybury,  Elizabeth Shillue,  Derrick Walker, & Gayle Jessup White.


Project Timeline

March 2016

Zyahna Bryant's Petition

In 2016, a high school student named Zyahna Bryant created a petition calling for the removal of the Lee statue.

August 2017

Neo-Nazi Riots

The Lee statue erupted from a local to an international symbol of white supremacy when neo-Nazi rioters descended on Charlottesville to halt the removal.

July 2021

Statue Removal

The statue was removed from a public park in July 2021. In October, City Council requested proposals from organizations interested in taking possession of the statue.

July 2021

City Council Approves SIP Proposal

The city council voted unanimously to donate the Robert E. Lee statue to the African American Heritage Center which proposed to melt down the statue. 

March 2022

Community Engagement Launch

SIP is hosting its first public meeting about public spaces, art, and the future of the Lee statue.