On April 17, Breitbart News reported a group a black students calling themselves “The Committee” placed several demands on Washington and Lee University, including calls for the university to remove all Confederate flags from campus, “acknowledge” Robert E. Lee’s “dishonorable side,” and end neo-Confederate marches across campus to the Lee Chapel.
By July 9, the Confederate flags had been removed from Lee Chapel and during July 25-27 the Chapel and onsite Museum were closed so that the Sons of Confederate Veterans could not access them during their marches and meetings on campus.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “The Committee” member Brandon Hicks spoke to the removal of the flags by saying: “I’m excited about the progress we’ve been able to create on campus.” He said after his group threatened civil disobedience on campus, “the administration and law school [have] been really helpful about facilitating conversation about inclusivity on campus.”
Regarding the closure of the Chapel and Museum, WSLS 10 reports the school did this as a “safety precaution because of the threatening emails, letters, and phone calls they have received after removing replica Confederate flags from the Chapel.”
The closure coincides perfectly with the dates–July 25-27–that the Sons of Confederate Veterans would be on campus.
On July 26, The Stonewall Brigade hosted a vigil on Hopkins Green with this message for the school:
Washington and Lee announced that Lee Chapel would be closed this weekend because they feel ‘threatened’ by the presence of those who will come to peacefully protest the removal of Confederate flags from Robert E. Lee’s grave. All scheduled events are not even near Washington & Lee or Lee Chapel, so this is obviously a PR stunt contrived by Washington & Lee to make it appear as if we intend to harm Lee Chapel or its staff.
In the meantime, it appears the history of school-namesake General Robert E. Lee is being scrubbed from campus.
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