From the Associated Press:
NEW YORK (AP) — Leaders of a New York Episcopal diocese say they’ll remove two plaques honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a church property in Brooklyn.
Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, leader of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island, told Newsday (http://nwsdy.li/2x3ZFkX) the plaques outside St. John’s Episcopal Church are being removed Wednesday.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy markers commemorate the spot where Lee is said to have planted a tree while serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton in New York in the 1840s. Two decades later, he became commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.
The 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.
From the original story, in Newsday:
“I think it is the responsible thing for us to do,” Bishop Lawrence Provenzano said. “People for whom the Civil War is such a critical moment — and particularly the descendants of former slaves — shouldn’t walk past what they believe is a church building and see a monument to a Confederate general.”
More about the history of the memorials:
Provenzano said the current tree is a “descendant” of the original planted by Lee. A second United Daughters of the Confederacy plaque, which makes note of that and says a replacement tree was planted in 1935, also will be taken down Wednesday.
The historic church itself, called “the Church of the Generals” (2016 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle here) has been sold and is under contract, according to Provenzano.
This video of the removal was posted on Twitter by a Wall Street Journal reporter:
Plaques honoring Gen. Robert E. Lee have been removed from St. John’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/1U11AvS6Zj
— Mariana Alfaro (@marianaa_alfaro) August 16, 2017
Bishop announces removal of Robert E. Lee plaques from Brooklyn church, calls them "offensive symbol to so many of God's people." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/smDdFRo5lS
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 16, 2017
Image from The Brooklyn Eagle