Did you know there’s a street in Brooklyn named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee? Improbably enough, it’s true. It’s inside of Fort Hamilton, the National Guard and Army Reserve base located between the Verrazano Bridge and the Dyker Heights Golf Course. This fact was mostly ignored until this week, when in the aftermath of the mass murder in South Carolina and antipathy toward the Confederate flag, Representative Hakeem Jeffries told Business Insider that he wants the street renamed.
Jeffries, a Democratic congressman representing the 8th District, which borders Fort Hamilton, told Business Insider:
“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. It is my hope that we will do the right thing and find an appropriate local hero for whom the street can be renamed.”
Robert E. Lee was stationed at Fort Hamiltion from 1841 to 1846, many years before the Civil War when he was still a captain in the U.S. Army. General Stonewall Jackson was also stationed there in the late 1840s after the Mexican-American War, and has a street named after him in the base as well. Jeffries did not address Stonewall Jackson Drive, but presumably his street should be renamed, too.
Neither Republican Representative Dan Donovan, who represents the district where Fort Hamilton is located, nor Mayor de Blasio have commented on General Lee Avenue.
“Most people probably don’t know who General Lee is,” an unidentified Fort Hamilton employee told the Post. “It was just a day-to-day routine street. No one really questioned it,” which is an embarrassingly telling statement.
It’s up to the Army to change the name of the street, but hopefully they do the right thing and listen to Rep. Jeffries.
(Photo: Gamma Man)