The U.S. Army is defying orders from Democratic members of Congress to change the name of streets at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.
The streets bear the names of Confederate generals, and New York’s Democratic-led Congressional Assembly said that the names enforce notions of “white supremacy.”
Army officials immediately shot down the request to remove “General Lee Avenue” and “Stonewall Jackson Drive,” saying they’re honoring the men as individuals, not representatives of a particular ideology.
“After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive,” an Army official wrote to Rep. Yvette Clarke. “This is contrary to the Nation’s original intent in naming those streets, which was the spirit of reconciliation.”
— Jason Silverstein (@jaysunsilver) August 7, 2017
Clarke – who is black – is demanding that the names change nonetheless, Pix11 reports.
“The department describes any possible renaming of these streets as potentially ‘controversial,'” she said in a statement. “Nonsense.”
— Yvette D. Clarke (@RepYvetteClarke) August 7, 2017
Clarke doesn’t plan to give up on getting the names changed, she said. Rep. Clarke will continue to petition the Army for change.
“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 said. “For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history.”
Tiny Fort Hamilton is New York City’s only active military installation. Local lawmakers have demanded the street names be changed for some time.
Clarke made the request with fellow New York Democrats Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries.
“Streets on our military installations are often named for a Soldier who holds a place of significance in our military history. The great generals of the civil war, Union and Confederate, are an inextricable part of our military history,” the letter to Clarke read.