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Published On: Thu, Aug 6th, 2015

Florida NAACP creates stir over General Robert E Lee portrait

In Lee County Florida, a portrait of Robert E. Lee wearing a Confederate uniform is hanging in the chambers of the County Commission. The local NAACP leaders is claiming that the portrait “represents treason” and should be removed.

Lee County NAACP President James Muwakkil is leading the charge for the commission to take down, replace or alter the portrait.

“It represents treason against the United States government,” Muwakkil said at Tuesday’s commission meeting. “It also represents treason against the people of United States. … That’s a hateful symbol. And you govern all of the people. Put a business suit on Mr. Robert E. Lee.”

Muwakkil said he would not be opposed to altering the portrait or a new portrait displaying Lee in a different uniform.

The Robert E Lee portrait in Florida's Lee County Commission chambers photo/screenshot of video coverage

The Robert E Lee portrait in Florida’s Lee County Commission chambers photo/screenshot of video coverage

“I don’t think the commissioners understand that that is not a legitimate military uniform,” Muwakkil said. “The United States military never adopted the Confederate Army into the U.S. military.”

The public body doesn’t sound interested in changing its décor any time soon.

Commission Chairman Brian Hamman said he did not know of any commissioners requesting any action be taken on Muwakkil’s request.

“With the portrait being up there for over 80 years, it’s a no-win situation to take it down,” Hamman said. “If you take it down you’ll be upsetting some folks, if you leave it up you’ll have some folks, as we’ve seen, upset.”

When asked if he would support keeping a portrait of Lee in the chambers with a different, non-Confederate uniform, Hamman appeared reluctant to entertain that option.

“I don’t think, in the long run, anyone will be truly happy with a half measure,” Hamman said.

The county’s name comes from Lee and the portraint was added in 1929. News-press.com notes that in 2007 a request from the NAACP for a portrait of Abraham Lincoln to be placed next to the one of Lee was rejected.

Muwakkil said his group has contacted the Florida NAACP to request support, approval to contact the national NAACP and support for direct action.

“This was the last step before direct action,” Muwakkil said. “We have to put our request in writing and then come here and speak to them. We’re waiting to hear from the state NAACP.”

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Teddy says:

    It’s LEE county, it should stay as it has for 80 years. Stop changing other peoples history for a select few.

  2. Ralph Snyder says:

    As a resident of Lee County, I think the NAACP is right.

    Surely a portrait of Mr. Lee in civilian clothes representing the last period of his life when he tried to heal the wounds of the Civil War would be more appropriate.

    Or perhaps changing the person honored by the county name to Richard Henry Lee?

    Commissioner Hammond’s attempts to dismiss the issue as too difficult are in any case inadequate.

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