LOS ANGELES (AP) – Two national parks in California remove all mention of Robert E. Lee from information material even though several majestic sequoias bear the name of the Confederate General.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon Parks remove references to Lee from exhibits, print and online, as protests against racism and police violence have led in some places to the removal or destruction of monuments of historic figures linked to slavery or colonialism. Protests were sparked across the country following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white officer kneeled in Minnesota.
A reference to the Robert E. Lee tree of almost 255 feet (78 meters) at Grant Grove in Kings Canyon Park has been deleted from an online list of the 30 largest redwood trees on the planet, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. It is the 11th largest giant sequoia in the world.
The idea was to “promote inclusion,” said parks spokeswoman Sintia Kawasaki-Yee.
“When people come to our national parks and see something so majestic, it shouldn’t remind them of a Confederate chief who stood up for something unfair,” said Masooma Kalyan, a tourist from San Francisco Bay, in Visalia. Times-Delta. “They should rename it.”
However, the name cannot be officially changed without the approval of Congress or the director of the National Park Service.
The tree is said to have been named by a former Confederate lieutenant around 1875, before the region became a national park.
There are at least two other sequoias named Lee in Sierra Nevada, one in Yosemite National Park and one in the giant forest of Sequoia National Forest.
The park warden is trying to figure out what to do with a sign at the General Lee tree in the giant forest and wants to hear public opinion before deciding to remove it, said Kawasaki-Yee.
Other trees in Sequoia and Kings Canyon are named after historical figures. The two most famous are named after the generals of the Civil War Union, William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant.
Source: AP News