Army shuts down Democrats’ plan to change streets named after Confederate generals

Demands by New York Democrats to rename streets that bear the names of famous Confederate generals were denied by the U.S. Army.

General Lee Ave. and Stonewall Jackson Drive are part of Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton military installation, home to the New York Army National Guard and Reserves and the city’s only active military post.

Rep. Yvette Clarke joined fellow New York Democrats Nydia Velazquez, Hakeem Jeffries and Jerrold Nadler in a letter to the Army protesting the street names, according to the New York Daily News.

“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,” Clarke said. “For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history.”

The streets were named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan (Stonewall) Jackson, who both served at Fort Hamilton in the 1840s, long before becoming leaders of the Confederate Army in the Civil War. The men were “an inextricable part of our military history,” the Army wrote in its letter rejecting the request to change the street names.

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“After over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive,” Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Diane Randon wrote in the letter Clarke received last weekend. “This is contrary to the Nation’s original intent in naming these streets, which was the spirit of reconciliation.”

Some local residents near the military base, however, agreed with the Democratic Congress members.

“People don’t realize what’s behind these signs … It’s a much bigger issue than two streets and a military base,” Fort Hamilton High School senior Destiny Betts told the Daily News. The 17 year-old’s parents are both in the military.

“I know where the military is coming from. It doesn’t make it right, but they will never admit they are wrong,” Armando Cordero, a former Army soldier and National Guard officer, said. “Changing the streets’ names, would be an admission they were wrong.”

Previously, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and the Rev. Al Sharpton have called for the names to be changed as well and Rep. Clarke vowed that her “fight isn’t over yet.”

Fort Hamilton, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Army and not any city or state, is not even in Clarke’s district. Rep. Dan Donovan represents the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn district that the Fort falls in. The Republican congressman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NY-1 TV.

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