Religious leaders remove Brooklyn plaques honoring Robert E. Lee, prompting threats from alt-right protesters

NY Daily News | 8/16/2017 | Molly Crane-newman, Thomas Tracy
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A tree that grows in Brooklyn no longer bears a plaque honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The 105-year-old marker went south Wednesday, removed from a maple tree planted by Lee in the 1840s — years before his decision to lead the secessionist fight in the Civil War.

Decision - Minute - Thought - Bishop - Lawrence

“For us, it wasn’t a decision that needed more than a minute of thought,” said Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

“I think it was the right thing to do, because (the plaque) just being there was offensive to the African-American community.”

Tree - Lee - Fort - Hamilton - Episcopal

The tree, planted by Lee when he served at nearby Fort Hamilton between 1842 and 1847, rises outside a shuttered Episcopal church in Bay Ridge.

The diocese was immediately inundated with threatening phone calls and emails from hate-fueled protesters infuriated by its decision.

Supremacy - Rhetoric - Emails - Staff - Bishop

“Very extreme alt-right and white supremacy, neo-Nazi rhetoric that has been flooding the emails of our staff,” said the bishop. “Direct threats to me, the staff.”

The 1912 marker was taken down along with a second plaque installed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1935.

Provenzano - Clash - Charlottesville - Va - Removal

Provenzano acknowledged the recent, deadly clash in Charlottesville, Va., and the removal of Confederate statues in other cities influenced his decision.

The two plaques marked the spot where Lee planted the maple outside the house of worship.

Resident - Tony - Eye - Opposition - Move

Local resident Tony Eye, 60, voiced his opposition to the move relocating the historic plaques from the tree outside St. John’s Episcopal Church to a diocesan archive.

“What’s next?” he asked. “If someone doesn’t like the color of that guy’s door, you’re going to take it down? If it was red, and someone related that to communism, they have to take it down because it’s a red door?”

Rev - Khader - El-Yateem

The Rev. Khader El-Yateem, a...
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