Take it or Lee-ve it! Civil rights advocates demand Fort Hamilton surrender Confederate-named street

Take it or Lee-ve it! Civil rights advocates demand Fort Hamilton surrender Confederate-named street
Associated Press

A black community leader and a congressman want Ft. Hamilton to rename a street named for a Confederate general who was stationed there before the Civil War.

Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is protesting in front of the Brooklyn Army Base today, calling on the installation to take down street signs for General Lee Avenue — Confederate General Robert E. Lee — and replace them with something less evocative of the mid-1800s war fought over slavery.

And Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D–Canarsie) said yesterday that the “General Lee Avenue” moniker has to go.

“Brooklyn is one of the most diverse counties in America, with sizable communities of color. There is no good reason for a street to be named after an individual who led the Confederate Army in the fight to keep slavery and racial subjugation alive in America,” Jeffries told Business Insider yesterday. “It is my hope that we will do the right thing and find an appropriate local hero for whom the street can be renamed.”

The moves comes as politicians and civil rights activists around the country are calling for the removal of Confederate symbols from public spaces in the wake of a racially motivated shooting in South Carolina that claimed the lives of nine black churchgoers on June 17.

Newly minted Rep. Dan Donovan, who represents Ft. Hamilton, has been silent on the demand.

Fort Hamilton is New York City only Army installation. Lee was stationed there as a captain from 1842 to 1847 — more than a decade before the outset of the Civil War.

He served as a vestryman at the nearby St. John’s Episcopal Church, leading to its nickname “Church of the Generals.”

Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was also stationed at Ft. Hamilton while Lee was there.

Lee famously declined an offer for a high position in the Union army to command Confederate troops because he did not want to command soldiers against his home state of Virginia.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.