Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee was vilified during the Civil War only to become a heroic symbol of the South’s “Lost Cause” — and eventually a racist icon.
His transformation, at the center of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, reflects the changing moods in the United States around race, mythology and national reconciliation, historians say.
Lee monuments, memorials and schools in his name erected at the turn of the 20th Century are now facing scrutiny amid a demographically changing nation.
But who was Robert E. Lee beyond the myth? Why are there memorials in his honor in the first place?
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