U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke criticized the federal government Monday after it refused a request to rename two Brooklyn streets currently named after Confederate generals.
In a letter sent to the congresswoman last weekend, the Army said it understood the concerns over General Lee Avenue and Stonewall Jackson Way in Fort Hamilton, but said they would remain. Both Lee and Jackson served at the Brooklyn fort before joining the Confederacy during the Civil War, and Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Diane Randon said that removing their names would be “controversial” and contrary to the “spirit of reconciliation.”
“The men in question were honored on Fort Hamilton as individuals, not as representatives of any particular cause or ideology,” Randon wrote in the letter.
Clarke, who made the request with fellow New York congressional members Nydia Velazquez, Jerrold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries, said she was disappointed with the Army’s decision.
“These monuments [sic] 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 in a statement.
The U.S. Army didn’t have any immediate response to Clarke’s statement. The initial request came in June after New Orleans took down statues of Confederate soldiers, despite pushback from some constituents.
Clarke said she will continue to petition the Army to rename the Fort Hamilton streets.
“The department describes any possible renaming of these streets as potentially ‘controversial.’ Nonsense,” she said.