U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke has vowed to keep fighting after the Army shot down a proposal to rename two streets honoring Confederate generals at New York City’s Fort Hamilton.
General Lee Ave. and Stonewall Jackson Drive at the Brooklyn base, named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson, represent “an inextricable part of our military history,” the Army wrote in response to Ms. Clarke, who received the letter over the weekend, the New York Daily News reported.
Diane Randon, the Army’s acting assistant chief of staff for Installation Management, reportedly wrote that the streets were named in the spirit of reconciliation, and that any effort to rename them would be “controversial and divisive.”
Ms. Clarke said the monuments are “deeply offensive” to Brooklyn residents and that they should be left in the past where they belong.
“The department claims that the streets were named ‘in the spirit of reconciliation.’ But that ‘reconciliation’ was actually complicity by the North and the South to ignore the interests of African Americans and enforce white supremacy, effectively denying the result of the Civil War for generations,” the Democrat said in a statement Monday. “The department describes any possible renaming of these streets as potentially controversial. Nonsense.
“These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought to hold in slavery,” she continued. “For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history. I commend the City of New Orleans for initiating this important and often difficult work. I will continue to petition the Department of the Army to contribute to that effort.
Ms. Clarke added in a tweet that the “fight isn’t over yet.”
Ms. Clarke first petitioned the Army in June along with a handful of fellow Democrats, including Rep. Jerrold Nadler. Their letter came weeks after New Orleans removed four Confederate memorials after the city council deemed them a public nuisance.