Fort Hamilton

Plaques honoring Robert E. Lee removed from Fort Hamilton church

August 16, 2017 Associated Press
Crew working with the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island saw into one of the plaques commemorating Robert E. Lee. Photo: Episcopal Diocese of Long Island. Photos: Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

Leaders of a New York Episcopal diocese removed two plaques honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a church property in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

The plaques were removed by the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, which owns the property.

The larger of the two plaques was placed outside St. John’s Episcopal Church by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1912. It commemorated the spot where Lee is said to have planted a tree while serving in the Army at Fort Hamilton in New York in the 1840s, two decades before he became commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

The plaque marked a tree that was a descendant of the one Lee is believed to have planted. A second plaque made note of that. Workers used power tools to remove them Wednesday.

The Richmond, Virginia-based United Daughters of the Confederacy did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment about the removal of the Brooklyn plaques.

Their removal comes in the wake of last weekend’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists protested plans to remove a Lee statue from a public park.

The Brooklyn church closed in 2015 and is being sold.

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The plaques there weren’t the only reminder of the Confederacy in Brooklyn. Lee and his fellow Confederal Gen. Stonewall Jackson also are honored with streets named after them at Fort Hamilton, which remains an active Army base.

Several Democratic members of Congress from New York City have called on the Army to change the names of Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue.

The roads run through the base and aren’t readily accessible by the general public.

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