FORT HAMILTON — Three members of New York's delegation to Congress on Tuesday rallied in Brooklyn in hopes of pressuring the U.S. Army to remove all its tributes to Confederate soldiers, including two streets on the Fort Hamilton Army Base.
"For hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents, as well as troops stationed at Fort Hamilton who are prepared to fight for this nation, the monuments are an insult," said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, who on Friday introduced a bill that would require the Department of Defense to change the name of any military installation or other property named for individuals who fought against the United States during the Civil War.
"It is clear that these remain a magnet for those in the white supremacist movement to continue their bigotry, their hate, their violence," Clarke said.
Thus far, calls from Clarke, Governor Andrew Cuomo and other officials have been denied as they seek to expunge General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Drive from the city's only active Army base.
In a July 2 letter of rejection to the congresswoman, the Army defended the generals' street names as an "inextricable part of our military history." Local officials reiterated that stance Tuesday.
The push to re-brand the roads took on renewed significance after white nationalists recently flooded Charlottesville, Virginia to violently protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.
Police confronted a lone Trump supporter, Gary Phanefu, who tried to drown out the congresswoman as she spoke. (DNAinfo/Caroline Spivack)
Last week, church officials removed a memorial to Gen. Robert E. Lee that had been mounted to a tree outside St. Johns Episcopal Church in Fort Hamilton for more than 100 years.
"Symbols of the confederacy that represent violence and hate have no place in Brooklyn, New York or any where else in the United States of American," said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries at the Tuesday conference. "I’m no historian but what should be clear to everybody is the Civil War is over, white supremacy lost and the only thing we’re here to discuss is its unconditional surrender.”