BCC Takes Down Busts of Confederate Generals Days after Reporters Arrest

BCC Takes Down Busts of Confederate Generals Days after Reporters Arrest
by David Greene

The unveiling of Jackson's bust in 1957 (courtesy Bronx Community College)

The unveiling of Jackson’s bust in 1957 (courtesy Bronx Community College)

Workers at Bronx Community College in University Heights have quickly removed the busts of two Confederate Generals of the Civil War, after Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered them taken down hours after a Brooklyn photojournalist was arrested on the campus for trespassing.

J.B. Nicholas, a freelance photojournalist doing a story for Gothamist.com, was on the campus taking photos of the busts of Confederate General’s Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson and interviewing students about the controversial statues honoring the two men at the school’s, “Hall of Fame for Great Americans.”

It wasn’t until a follow-up story two days later that Nicholas revealed that campus security threw him to the ground and called police. He was arrested and charged with trespassing.

The bust of Lee was installed at the site 1923, and Jackson’s was unveiled when the college opened in 1957.

 The bust and name plate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was gone by Sunday afternoon.--Photo by David Greene

The bust and name plate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was gone by Sunday afternoon.–Photo by David Greene

Hours after Nicholas’ first story, Cuomo Tweeted, “Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson will be removed from the CUNY Hall of Great Americans because New York stands against racism.”

A second Cuomo Tweet added, “There are many great Americans, many of them New Yorker’s worthy of a spot in this great hall. These two confederates are not among them.”

Nicholas was flabbergasted the following Sunday when he was told of the removal, he responded, “I can’t believe they took is down so fast, that’s great.”

The Bronx Hall of Fame for Great American's has removed the busts of Confederate General's Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.--Photo by David Greene

The Bronx Hall of Fame for Great American’s has removed the busts of Confederate General’s Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.–Photo by David Greene

In a statement issued by Bronx Community College on their website, the school stated, “For 60 years, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York has remained committed to reflecting it’s values of diversity and inclusion in all of its actions and statements.”

The statement concluded, “Embracing difference includes creating space where all people feel respected, welcomed and valued. To that end we will be removing the busts of Confederate General’s Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from the Hall of Fame for Great Americans.”

Calls to the school on Monday, August 21 went unanswered as did the question about the fate of the two busts.

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