Brooklyn church latest to remove Confederate relics

The Episcopal Diocese in Brooklyn removed a plaque dedicated to General Robert E. Lee - as the violence in Charlottesville prompts more cities across the country to re-examine their own Confederate relics.

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The Episcopal Diocese removing a plaque dedicated to Civil War General Robert E. Lee in Brooklyn, New York, on Wednesday (Aug 16). It comes just days after a white nationalist protest sparked deadly clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompting cities across the country to remove their Confederate relics.

The plaque, sitting outside St. John's Episcopal Church in Fort Hamilton, was affixed in 1912 in front of a maple tree that Lee planted in the 1840s, before he led the South in the Civil War.

"General Lee must be remembered, not celebrated, especially on the streets of our community." said Rev. Khader El-Yateem, Lutheran Pastor.

"Certainly it doesn't do the church or its mission any good to allow this to remain in place." said Bishop Lawrence Provenzano, Episcopal Diocese of Long Island.

But others felt differently.

"You don't change history. I thank God every day we abolished slavery, but you don't change history." said a resident Bill Castigile.

Officials in Baltimore removed several confederate monuments overnight. The foundations were quickly covered with graffiti. The mayor of Baltimore defended her decision on Wednesday.

"I have no concern about the confederacy or any lawsuits. I did what was right for my city." said Catherine Pugh, Baltimore Mayor.

In North Carolina, protesters toppled a statue in Durham. In Birmingham, Alabama, workers stopped short of removing the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument and instead, built a wall around it.

The violence and protests in Charlottesville are forcing cities to rethink whether their Confederate past should keep such a prominent place in their future.