Robert E. Lee’s Name Is Still All Over Arlington, But That Could Be ChangingBreaking News
tags: Virginia, Washington DC, Robert E. Lee
For decades, Robert E. Lee’s name and other references to the Confederate general have adorned a number of public spaces in Arlington County. There’s Lee Highway, Lee Community Center, and — until early last year — a public county high school.
But, as is the case around the country in recent years and months, this is changing.
Last month, the Lee Highway Alliance — a coalition of civic associations, landowners, and businesses — announced they were moving forward with renaming the portion of the century-old thoroughfare that runs through the county. Additionally, Arlington’s branch of the NAACP has recently called on the county to retire its flag, logo, and seal that features Lee’s former residence.
“Symbols matter. They shape how we view the world and inform our culture,” Julius D. Spain Sr., the President of NAACP Arlington, tells DCist. “Do these [symbols] really represent the Arlington we live in today?”
Alfred Taylor, a longtime Arlingtonian and historian, is also in favor of retiring Lee’s name from county public spaces. “It’s time to … come up with symbols that are more indicative of what Arlington is today, and what we hope it to be going forward,” he says.
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