Bronx Community College to remove busts of Confederate generals

- This bust of Robert E. Lee has been in place at Bronx Community College since the early 1900s. Just a few sculptures down is a bust of Stonewall Jackson, here since the 1950s. The two Confederate generals are part of the school's Hall of Fame for Great Americans.

But they won't be for much longer. School officials said Jackson and Lee will be removed because they want everyone on campus to feel respected and welcomed.

Bronx resident Shelley Olson co-wrote The Bronx: The Ultimate Guide to New York City's Beautiful Borough in 2015. She came to see the sculptures one last time.

"I do believe they should be removed but I think they should be carefully preserved," Olson said. "They're not unequivocally the heroes that perhaps in the '50s and in the early 1900s we thought that they were."

In the wake of the violence in Virginia, loud cries across the country have called for the removal of Confederate and anti-Semitic symbols.

In Brooklyn, a plaque marking a tree planted by Lee in the 1940s was removed Wednesday.

In lower Manhattan, the Canyon of Heroes on Broadway includes a commemoration for Nazi collaborator Phillippe Pétain. Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to remove it and other symbols of hate.

Many New Yorkers applaud these actions, while others disagree.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has requested the Lee and Jackson sculptures be moved to a military museum. The school is considering that option and plans to hold a forum for the campus and community to discuss the future of the Hall of Fame, along with the possibility of new inductees to replace the ones being removed.

"It is needed, it is time and it sends a clear message that we are not going to tolerate the hatred that we've been seeing," Diaz said.

The college is working with preservationists to figure out the best way to remove the two sculptures, a spokesperson said. The statues are expected to be removed within a week. 

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