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Robert E. Lee Monument Removed In Warren County Amid Protest Threats

A plaque dedicated to Confederate General Robert E. Lee was removed from a highway in Warren County.

A decades-old monument honoring Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee has been removed from a street corner in Franklin, Ohio, a city in Warren County.

Franklin city officials took down the stone monument, erected by Daughters of the Confederacy, overnight Thursday after protest plans were announced in the wake of recent violent events in Charlottesville.

"The shaft memorial and highway straight attest his worth - he cometh to his own," the plaque reads.

It had stood at the corner of Dixie Highway and Hamilton Middletown Road for 90 years.

Organizers with the Greater Dayton Chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice announced plans to protest the monument after violence erupted at a Charlottesville rally organized by white supremacist and nationalist groups protesting removal of a Confederate statue in that city.

Adding to the controversy, there was also disagreement over who owned the Franklin monument.

Initially, Franklin Township claimed jurisdiction and refused to remove the statue. Later in the evening, the city of Franklin said the monument was actually under its control, as it fell within the right-of-way for Dixie Highway, which is owned by the city.

In a press release, Acting City Manager Jonathan Westendorff said officials removed the statue to keep the right-of-way clear and to, “avoid a public safety hazard.”

After the monument was removed, a hand-written paper sign featuring a Confederate flag symbol appeared in its place. It’s not known who is responsible for the sign, but the Journal-News reportsit was later taken by a man passing in a car.

Organizers with the Greater Dayton chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) canceled plansto hold a rally at the monument on Saturday, following its removal. Activists also said they received threats when details of their event were shared on white supremacist website.

Updated August 18 at 12:31 p.m.

April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.