The Army will not rename General Lee Avenue in Brooklyn, despite a push from a handful of elected officials to strip the street of its association with the Confederate general.

In June, U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke spearheaded an effort to change the name of General Lee Avenue, which runs through Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge. Clarke, along with local Congressional representatives Jerrold Nadler, Nydia Velazquez and Hakeem Jeffries, sent a letter to Army Secretary Robert Speer to ask the army to rename both the avenue and the smaller Stonewall Jackson Drive in Fort Hamilton.

"To me it should be a no brainer, particularly on a military installation, that it's inappropriate to commemorate individuals who were part of the Confederacy in New York," Clarke told Gothamist. "When you think about, for quite some time now, there have been people who are fighting in our wars, who are part of our military, that there are people of color who were stationed at Fort Hamilton—it's really disrespectful to have these individuals who would deny their humanity, commemorated somewhere they're fighting for the liberties of all Americans."

But the Army has declined Clarke's request, claiming the streets were named after the Confederate generals "in the spirit of reconciliation" and that "[a]fter over a century, any effort to rename memorializations on Fort Hamilton would be controversial and divisive," per a letter to Clarke from Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Diane Randon. Randon also noted that "[t]he great generals of the Civil War, Union and Confederate, are an inextricable part of our military history," and that Lee and Jackson "were honored on Fort Hamilton as individuals, not as representatives of any particular cause or ideology."

Clarke told Gothamist in a statement that she was "disappointed" by the Army's decision:

I am disappointed that the Department of the Army will not even consider renaming these streets honoring Confederate generals who waged war against the United States. The department claims that the streets were named ‘in the spirit of reconciliation.’ But that ‘reconciliation’ was actually complicity by the North and the South to ignore the interests of African Americans and enforce white supremacy, effectively denying the result of the Civil War for generations.

We are still living with the failure of this nation to fully accept that result, as well as the post-Civil War amendments that were ratified to establish the freedom of women and men who had been held in bondage. The department describes any possible renaming of these streets as potentially ‘controversial.’ Nonsense. These monuments are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of Brooklyn residents and members of the armed forces stationed at Fort Hamilton whose ancestors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson fought to hold in slavery. For too many years, the United States has refused to reckon with that history. I commend the City of New Orleans for initiating this important and often difficult work. I will continue to petition the Department of the Army to contribute to that effort.