Protesters outside Fort Hamilton call for General Lee Avenue to be renamed

Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network (NAN) held a protest and vigil outside the Fort Hamilton Army Base on June 27 to decry a street within the base named after a Confederate general.

Sharpton and members of his civil rights organization gathered outside the base’s main gate at Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101 Street, joined in prayer and denounced General Lee Avenue, which runs through the base.

The U.S. Army named the street after Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who served at Fort Hamilton from 1841 to 1846.

The protest came 10 days after a racially motivated mass shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people, and amid calls to remove a Confederate flag that flies over that state’s capitol.

In addition to calling on the army to rename General Lee Avenue, the protestors denounced a mural on the ceiling of the New York State Capitol waiting room in the governor’s office that has the Confederate flag on it.

Some have also called for another street within Fort Hamilton named after a Confederate general, Stonewall Jackson Drive, off of Sterling Drive and Grimes Road, to be renamed.

“We can no longer accept a single government site in this nation—not a street, school or military installation—named for an individual who fought to preserve slavery in America. Any symbol that may be used to create division and discord is a potential danger to our civic unity and should be treated as such,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Fort Hamilton has a proud history in Brooklyn of protecting our shores and preserving our freedom; let us commission a panel of historians and local leaders to determine heroes truly befitting of having their names memorialized inside this post.”

Calls to NAN and the U.S. Army were not returned by press time.

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