Nate Bell proposes to remove Robert E. Lee from King anniversary observance | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nate Bell proposes to remove Robert E. Lee from King anniversary observance

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 12:53 PM

FAREWELL TO LEE? Bill proposes removing him from King holiday observance.
  • FAREWELL TO LEE? Bill proposes removing him from King holiday observance.

Rep. Nate Bell
has introduced a bill to eliminate the dual status of the third Monday in January as an observance of both the birthdays of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Has this broad support? The fight for a King observance — led generally by black Democrats — was ultimately won only with the combination arrangement in the days of a Democratic majority. Might a Republican legislature strip Lee and leave King as the sole honoree?

Time will soon tell.

Regular readers know to find no objection from me, nor to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's welcome de-emphasis of the annual David O. Dodd memorial by Sons of Confederate Veterans. War's over. Union won. Slavery's defenders lost.

An interesting wrinkle in this is a connection that Bell and I share, though he and I don't share much, including conversation. A daughter of Bell's went to Washington and Lee University, a school built on an endowment from George Washington that added Lee to its name for his presidency following the Civil War. The campus remains a shrine to him. I went there, too. I told Bell to watch out, that  the school — with its predominantly conservative student body — turned me into a liberal. He was spared. His W&L graduate daughter, Victoria, now works on the staff of Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman.

PS — Democratic Rep. Fred Love has filed similar legislation and others are talking about signing on.

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