Jorma Duran
Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005

LEE COUNTY— Lee County is named after Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General from the Civil War. Some people say he doesn’t deserve to have a county named after him and want the county’s name changed. The Black Advisory Board will take the idea before the Lee County Commissioners in February.

Lee County was named after Robert E. Lee on May 13, 1887 when the county separated from Monroe County. Lee’s portrait hangs proudly on the second floor of the old Lee County Courthouse.

Anthony Thomas, a member of the Black Advisory Board, believes Lee doesn’t deserve the recognition.

"I’m glad he didn’t win the war, that’s for sure," said Anthony Thomas, Black Advisory Board member.

Thomas says Robert E. Lee represented everything wrong about freedom and doesn’t reflect the true meaning of what the United States stands for.

"I think that when we are in a war and we’re fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan, sending our troops in harm’s way to fight for freedom. Then to have something look up upon when we come back to our own land, a man, Robert E. Lee who stood against freedom, a man who stood for slavery and a man who if he had his way, we wouldn’t be the United States of America," said Thomas.

Could the county’s name be changed? The name Lee would have to be removed from many buildings, historical markers and signs throughout the county.

"I think it’s silly," said Ray Judah, Lee County Commissioners.

Judah says changing the name of the county would be a waste of time and taxpayer money.

"The process that would be involved in changing the name would be so cumbersome and so expensive and it’s really absurd," said Judah.

The Lee County Black Advisory Board voted 6 to 0 on Monday night to explore renaming Lee County. The Board plans to discuss the issue with Lee County Commissioners in February, which is black history month.

Thomas wants to put the issue on the November 2006 ballot to let the voters decide. The matter would still need approval from the state.

©2005 by NBC2 NEWS.

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