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Lee history saved again

By Staff | Sep 20, 2017

To the editor:

Great news! The Lee County Commission in Fort Myers at this time has decided not to change the portrait of General Robert E. Lee from its central location in the old courthouse commission chambers. A variety of requests were made by the NAACP to change or remove the portrait. Their first step was to keep Lee the name of the county in honor of Robert E. Lee and change the portrait to show General Lee in civilian attire in respect for his post Civil War accomplishments.

About 30 people, including Phyllis and I, spoke in favor of keeping the General’s portrait where it is, just the way it is. Some members of the NAACP turned their backs to the portrait and to the commission as pro Lee portrait speakers were addressing the commission. In my opinion, the pro-Lee speakers were wonderfully eloquent. It was a trying couple of weeks for Phyllis and me as we had been working on the project to “Keep Lee in Lee” with brochure handouts, letters to the editor and a multitude of small details. What I believe brought the commission to its senses was that the commander of the Sons of Confederate veterans here, Robert Gates, presented to the commission an ordinance from 2015, which was signed by all the present commissioners to not bring up the removing of any statues of the Confederacy or the changing of the Lee portrait in the commission chambers.

Jon Larsen Shudlick

Fort Myers