Following this weekend’s marches, protests, and attacks at a “Unite the Right” rally led by white nationalist groups in Charlottesville, Virginia, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will conduct a 90-day review of “symbols of hate” that are situated on city property.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday evening, De Blasio expressed support for the renaming of two Brooklyn streets that are currently named for Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. He also said that one of the first markers to be reviewed (and likely removed) will be a plaque in the “Canyon of Heroes” on lower Broadway commemorating a ticker-tape parade that included Philippe Pétain, the leader of Vichy France and a Nazi collaborator.
“It’s the beginning framework of what will ideally be a long-term approach to the evaluation of public structures and controversial pieces of public art,” Eric Phillips, a spokesperson for the mayor, told the New York Post. Per the Post, the city will “consult a panel of ‘relevant experts and community leaders’ who will define the criteria and make recommendations for which items to remove.”
After the violent events in Charlottesville, New York City will conduct a 90-day review of all symbols of hate on city property.— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 16, 2017
The issue has come to the fore this week as lawmakers and other officials around the country have called for the removal of Confederate monuments and other markers in their cities and states. Just this week, Bronx Community College announced that busts of Lee and Jackson are will be removed from the Hall of Fame For Great Americans on its campus, a move that was championed by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, lawmakers (including Cuomo and Reps. Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries) have pushed the U.S. Army to rename two streets at Fort Hamilton that are currently named for Lee and Jackson; the Army has stated it has no plans to do so.