Confederate symbols to be removed from Bronx Community College

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Bronx (WABC) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is ordering memorials for two Confederate generals to be removed from Bronx Community College's campus.

This is part of a movement across the county to remove Confederate statues and symbols from public places and institutions.

Cuomo issued the order Wednesday. The school has statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and both will be taken down.

The college said by taking down the memorials, it will help the campus community.

"Embracing difference includes creating space where all people feel respected, welcomed, and valued," the school president wrote.

The bronze busts are part of the Hall of Fame at Bronx Community College, which is a collection of 98 notable American figures including politicians, writers, educators and artists.

Two plaques honoring General Lee were removed from a church in the Fort Hamilton section of Brooklyn Wednesday.

"We couldn't allow for us to want to stand against hatred and bigotry, particularly as seen expressed in Charlottesville and throughout the country, and allow those plaques to stay here," Episcopal Bishop Lawrence Provenzano said.

Critics of the removals argue it's unwise to tear down history.

"I think tearing down monuments and statues doesn't really do anything," one opponent said. "It's kind of like Nazi Germany in a way. You can't go and, we have to learn from the past."

Meanwhile, Cuomo has already asked the acting Secretary of the Army to rename two streets at the army base in Fort Hamilton. So far, that request has not been granted, and the secretary has said renaming the streets would be too divisive.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city will conduct a 90-day review of what he calls all symbols of hate in New York City.
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