Robert E. Lee

Bronx, Brooklyn, History, Policy

Image via Alisdare Hickson/flickr

After a violent weekend led by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, New York officials have announced plans to review and remove controversial public structures. Mayor de Blasio said on Wednesday the city will conduct a 90-day review of “all symbols of hate on city property,” by putting together a panel of experts and community leaders who will make recommendations for items to take down (h/t NY Post). On Wednesday, Governor Cuomo called upon the United States Army to reconsider its decision to keep the street names that honor Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, two Confederate leaders, at Fort Hamilton. Cuomo also announced the removal of the busts of Lee and Jackson from CUNY’s Hall of Fame for Great Americans in the Bronx.

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Bay Ridge, History

General Lee Avenue, Robert E. Lee house Brooklyn, Fort Hamilton

General Lee Avenue and Robert E. Lee’s former home on Fort Hamilton, via Jeremy Bender/Business Insider

Following the tragic events in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, officials announced Tuesday that two plaques honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee outside of a Brooklyn church would be taken down. The plaques, tacked to a maple tree, belonged to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fort Hamilton, although the church has been closed since 2014. As Newsday reported, the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island owns the church and will sell it.

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Bay Ridge, History, Policy

General Lee Avenue, Robert E. Lee house Brooklyn, Fort Hamilton

General Lee Avenue and Robert E. Lee’s former home on Fort Hamilton, via Jeremy Bender/Business Insider

Despite a push from advocates and politicians, the United States Army decided to keep the names of two streets in Brooklyn that honor Confederate generals. The streets, General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive, can be found in Fort Hamilton, the city’s last remaining active military base. Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, along with U.S. Reps Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries, had written to the Army in June asking them to consider changing the street names. As the Daily News reported, the Army said the names will stay because they remain an “inextricable part of our military history.”

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Brooklyn, History

General Lee Avenue, Robert E. Lee house Brooklyn, Fort Hamilton

General Lee Avenue and Robert E. Lee’s former home on Fort Hamilton, via Jeremy Bender/Business Insider

We’ve all seen the news this week regarding the debate over Confederate flags in the South following the tragedy in Charleston. But a fascinating article today from Business Insider reminds us that the issue isn’t necessarily limited to the southern states. In fact, there’s an homage to the Confederacy right here in Brooklyn, and it goes largely unnoticed.

General Lee Avenue is a half-mile street that runs through Fort Hamilton, the city’s last remaining active-duty military base, and is named for Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee, who was the base’s engineer before he left for the south. Additionally, there’s a plaque marking the home where Lee lived from 1841 to 1846.

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