An image of the Robert E. Lee monument is featured on National Geographic's "The Year in Pictures" special issue.
In social media posts promoting the January issue, the magazine said: "In our 133 years, National Geographic has never singled out one year for a retrospective like this. But if ever a year demanded that, 2020 does."
National Geographic is the latest in a series of national outlets to recognize and highlight the role Richmond played in shaping this past summer's national dialogue surrounding racial injustice and police reform. Specifically, the Lee monument has garnered widespread interest — The New York Times Style Magazine in October named the Confederate monument, in its current state, as the most influential piece of American protest art since World War II.
Aiding the symbolism taken on by the statue and space surrounding it have been Richmond-based projectionists Dustin Klein and Alex Criqui, whose images cast upon the pedestal, horse and rider have included prominent Black historic figures such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Victims of police violence such as Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Peters and George Floyd have also been subjects of Klein and Criqui's projections. On the National Geographic cover, Floyd's face envelops the graffiti-covered pedestal, and the letters "BLM" stretch across Lee and his horse.
National Geographic magazine, for the 1st time in history, is focusing on some of the most influential photographs of 2020. The January 2021 issue is the center piece of National Geographic's annual "Year in Pictures" campaign, https://t.co/8yCRFXLR1L. pic.twitter.com/wawVsto6tO— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) December 8, 2020