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Names Matter for Justice and Historical Accuracy

Robert E. Lee resigned his army commission in 1861 because his commitment to a system of slavery was greater than his commitment to the U.S. Constitution. Later, as he directed operations which killed U.S. soldiers, he had many opportunities to end the war but he didn’t believe in the overwhelming legality and reasonable morality behind emancipating enslaved Africans.

Lee opposed post-war memorials to the Confederacy. The only reason we have them to him now is an attempt to glorify the Confederacy to a new generation that didn’t live through the horrors of slavery and civil war.

And finally, Robert E. Lee never owned the Arlington House. It was the home of his wife Mary and her family, with Robert Lee merely being a caretaker until it could be passed along to he and Mary’s eldest son.

He is a figure to be studied but not memorialized. Put up educational plaques and take down inaccurate positions of honor.

I support the change from “Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial” to “The Arlington House National Historic Site” just as I support further measures to bring racial justice to Arlington.