Robert E. Lee’s descendant says taking down Confederate symbols a ‘no-brainer’

'White supremacy and racism have been the basis for the celebration of that flag for a long time,' he said.

7/1/2020 4:29:00 AM

'The burden is on us to address this, and we will be far better off as a country and as a people if we're honest with ourselves.' roblee4, descendent of Robert E. Lee, joined ABCNewsLive to discuss the removal of Confederate statues.

'White supremacy and racism have been the basis for the celebration of that flag for a long time,' he said.

Crowd cheers as Confederate monument is taken downThe monument in Decatur, Georgia, was removed on June 18 after a judge ruled it a “public nuisance.”ABCRev. Robert Lee IV is the great-great-great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and he says that taking down Confederate symbols in public spaces is a “no brainer.”

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“I see them as idolatries… They have been created into idols of white supremacy and racism,” Lee told ABC News.“This is a no brainer. This is an issue of justice and of peace,” he said. “[If] we want peace in our time and the ability to [have] equality … we must do that by addressing the monuments not only in stone and in bronze, but elsewhere as well.”

MORE: Here's where Confederate statues and memorials have been removed in the USLee spoke to ABC News in the wake of NASCAR's ban on Confederate Flags from its racetracks earlier this month and several Confederate statues being taken down. On Tuesday night, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves officially removed the Confederate battle emblem from the state's flag.

Artist Dustin Klein projects an image of George Floyd onto the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va., June 18, 2020.Artist Dustin Klein projects an image of George Floyd onto the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va., June 18, 2020.

Julia Rendleman/Reuters“I didn’t see this happening in my lifetime. This is an incredible opportunity to seek justice, to try to right the wrongs of the past by seeking redemption and atonement for all of these things that have been wrong,” Lee said. “This is the first domino of many dominos to fall that can really shape the way we view our future.”

Lee said he grew up with the flag hanging in his bedroom.“I celebrated the fact that I was related to the man who was the standard bearer for that flag,” he said. “But as I’ve grown, I’ve learned that there is an importance to address what’s going on now and to see it for what it is -- white supremacy and racism have been the basis for the celebration of that flag for a long time.”

He credits a woman named Bertha Hamilton with counseling him before he became a reverend.Rev. Robert Lee IV is the great-great-great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.Rev. Robert Lee IV is the great-great-great-nephew of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

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ABC“[She] said ‘Sweetie, I know you’re going to be called to ministry … but if you want to be called to ministry, you can’t have that flag in your room,” he said. “I felt that day… I can’t have a symbol of divisiveness in my room -- in my bedroom -- a place where I rest my head.”

He says removing Confederate symbols has become a “personal issue." He wants to address the issue “not only for my namesake’s sake but also [because of] the reality that this is about more than just me.”Historians note that Lee’s ancestor was a brilliant general. But what parts of his history should be honored?

“Robert E. Lee meant a lot to me ... there was some sense of being proud to be a Lee,” he said.The statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down in Monroe Park in Richmond, Va., June 6, 2020.The statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham lies on the ground after protesters pulled it down in Monroe Park in Richmond, Va., June 6, 2020.

Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via APHe said he ultimately came to believe that “there’s no distinction between fighting for your home state, which was ultimately for the state’s right to enslave people." Read more: ABC News »

LIME YVETTE CARNELL SAID 5YRS AGO,THIS IS A DISTRACTION. LETS TALK ABOUT THE REAL POINT HERE REPARATIONS AND BLACK AGENDA ADOS Cowards It was supposed to be placed on the ground and stepped on multiple times before being thrown in the trash How tone deaf is that? If you stop harassing folk for traffic violations,all will be good! If you stop harassing folk for a little weed,all will be good! If you remove this statue,all will be good! If you remove this flag, all will be good! We were promised PEACE and it never came!

This is good. But this IS 2020. Civil War ended in 1865. Flag was adopted in 1894 (this alone proves what the 'pupose' was.) Again, this is 2020. We've got a Hell of a lot of work to do... Yep ! realDonaldTrump POTUS WhiteHouse WHAT YOU GONNA DO ? We could careless about flags & statues we want the land theft, the loss money from hundreds of years free & stolen labor, justice from when the KKK/local sheriff would ride to our homes gang rape our wives & daughters in lieu of not burning down our homes.

Boooo the USA is rising... with more allies We should change the American slogan Land of the Brave and Land of the free. To America Land of the Sensitive and Bitching. They lost over 150yrs ago... Good Grief...This is 2020, STOP this Madness. The Chinese Communist Party(CCP) must pay for the damage for releasing the COVID-19 virus on to the world. More evidence please see Stephen Bannon's War Room Pandemic:

That’s where those things belong. Their real purpose is not to take whose statue, but to tell people... that they can change American history, and thus change America! Awe, did they hold a ceremony for a flag from the past? Isn't that nice. Bye-bye flag. BlackLivesMatter VoteTrumpOut2020 VoteOutTheGOP VoteBiden2020

Terry Crews is facing heated backlash -- again -- over comments about the future of the Black Lives Matter movement. PurposeProfit via HuffPostEnt dozens of people killed in jade mine landslide BLM is a terrorist organization!!! The Mississippi flag is an artifact. Time to make racism history as well.

Why do Americans want to honor those who fought against the United States? They seceded from America, formed another country, & declared war against us * LOST. They believed they had the right to own other people because of the color of their skin. What is wrong w/you people? I'm ready for a new Trump statue.

Happy day for real Americans ! Right before the 4th of July ! Sex trafficking by John Walsh In 2021 if people are wondering how Trump won the election they can simply go back and watch this video...why are the Democrats always throwing away unloseable elections? Now if only the can remove the way people think about racism 🤔

So our local governments are joining rioting mobs in removing historical statues. It does not matter if it is government employees with professional equipment, or if it is marauders with chains and ropes and spray paint. Those are America’s statues. Most of these people don’t even know who he is or the history behind him. This does nothing for our society and doesn’t change anyone’s view other than another statue removed

Jackson really wasn’t that great of a general, anyway. Reading the history shows that Lee began to doubt him as Jackson was often late to the party. I notice that they aren’t removing any statues of that other traitor, Bendict Arnold...because there aren’t any. Any day is a great day if it moves the Confederacy further into the ash heap of history.

This is wrong people stand up far history 😡🇺🇸 What a bullshit! This is history! Good or bad, but that is something we all need to remember. You can’t just erase everything you don’t like from history! Then there will be no history left! We are literally watching the fall of western civilisation. Barbarians cheering at the toppling of statues. These ideologues know nothing about the history they seek to destroy. Disgusting.

Has anyone else noticed that the majority of these protesters are ignorant millennials and failures? If they are the future of this country we are fucked! Jefferson Davis must be spinning in his grave. If you don’t respect the history of others, then don’t expect others to respect your history. The time comes to remove all Statues worldwide .

Stonewall Jackson was a proponent of the “lost cause” which has muddled history since the end of the war. His statue belongs in a museum with context, not in a place of reverence. Goodbye Stoney! You're history! They will never stop. Never. They’ll come for you eventually. Learn your history. He spoke of the removal earlier in the day...

What, wait... without a Vote of We The People, 😲are you sure that’s even Constitutionally Legal😉☯️☮️ Hundreds arrested Scenes you've never seen before 😞 I live in VA and this means the world to me to see this statue removed. I hate seeing it with a passion! This dumb and big ass statue right near the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart.

crazy and insane. One man's treasure is another man's junk. More fodder for the dumbed down. Haha take them down all you want. The fact remains. When a republican gets voted in one day, re erect them all, especially columbus, the founder of the new world. JoeABCNews As the Looser ion a civil war, they should only be a foot note, not a statue, and the flag if flown should be grounds for charges of insurrection, ask Vladimir, or that Duplicitous Chinese Bloke, the President for life of the PRC. I thought he was against Corruption, not his.

About fucken time, because times are changing. natnewswatch 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 When is the presidents turn 🤔 Truthfully, was anyone really offended by this statue before Democrats told them to be? Oh look, fascist Germany all over again? Ahhh gotta love repeating history We should nuke Virginia.......wasn't it a Confederate state? Like taking down statues solves anything. Why not just stop racism? It's only been happening since the beginning of time.

Que imbecilidad más grande y cuanta ignorancia demuestran los políticos. Solo espero que nunca más sean reelegidos! Put it on one of his golf courses Too bad they can't dismount Stonewall and keep Little Sorrel. KattyKay_ About damn time. Nightline “The places that are hypersegregated today are the nation's large urban black ghettos -- New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Philadelphia” - 2015 Princeton University study. Time and effort better spent here?

What a shame. I'm glad I was able to see it before they destroy it Well they were not Americans were they? Porkfoot approves this message Democrats are F’d up in the head. VoteGOP in every state and for every seat 🇺🇸 Love it! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

the fact that people died for this is fuskinng ridiculous Are you going to remove Joe Biden from politics after he referred to Black Americans as the 'N' word several times in his 1994 speech. So proud of a bill he wrote which caused undue suffering on Blacks for decades? Will you still vote for that racist POS?

Look at all those ppl violating social distancing!!!! BronzeOverBrawns 45isHate 45isTheHoax Feeble45 dude left our warriors hanging. he didn't get their backs abroad and then he used them to suppress and injure our civilians domestically. wtf protest this POS and his Rs. VoteEmOut BlackLivesMatter SupportOurTroops

Smh Keep your arm raised as to not lose balance, Stonewall! byetraitors A quiet civil war is brewing just below the surface..... 7NY WTF!!! This will be repurposed on the Trump mini golf 18 th hole, aptly named The Monumental Failure Hole.... And the whiny babies win by throwing a tantrum. Great. What’s next

of course, I am demonized for not following blindly the left narrative of history and not demonizing who they say to demonize. MM arr Hopefully people realize these leftists won't stop w statues. Good A sad day, very sad day. Don’t let those traitors touch it! Talaban attacks the USA. Destroying history in it's path to socialism and the fall of America.

If you ignore history you're bond to repeat it. Stupid libs Don’t give power to those f$king Millennials. Be proud of your history ! It IS our history... a history that we should be ashamed of, not a history we honor. Thankfully one of those straps didn't break and quasi-sling that statue in to the crowd...They should be much further back.

We should remove all black people as they're a reminder of slavery too It is a real shame it was not dropped and shattered into a million little pieces. Second Place Trophies, call em what they are Mr Frump, did poop your pants? Not that I necessarily agree with the removal of all these historical statues good or bad it's history but I'm not totally upset if they're moving them to a more dignified place maybe a battlefield Park some sort of Civil War Museum they might be more appropriate places anyhow

Memorials are for heroes. Statues are for saviors. Resign the worst parts of our history to the books. Farewell to the remnants of the traitorous Confederates. Long live the USA Good Melt it down. is this what they mean when they say the south will rise again? hizaga Some heartbroken bots commenting on this tonight...

Wake up people!!!! These politicians are using you!!! Wake up and stop letting these things happen to our country!!! Take that losers 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Keep in mind that slavery is more complicated than you’ve been taught on social media. Barbary Coast European slave trade, Native American ownership of black slaves, Mexican ownership of Native American slaves. It’s worth a deeper dive/thorough examination

👍 The ancestors are dancing! Pathetic!!! Racial stories should leave behind to replace equality one!!! Burn it !! Retiring the flag does not help with the reality that racism is deeply rooted in the everyday life. The flag is part of the history. Better keep it on and let people know the change of belief behind it.

ok...o ok suicideofanation roblee4 NewsLive LinseyDavis and refer to roblee4 as the 'descendant' and 'direct descendant' of Gen Lee multiple times, and he never corrects this. Someone's uncle is not their direct descendant. Your points are valid, don't taint them with lies and lies of omission. Falsewitness

roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 Brilliant interview Rev! roblee4 NewsLive None of the statues should have been removed History should remain Teaching lessons 👏 roblee4 NewsLive Thats my pastor!! and I’m so proud of him!! roblee4 is a beacon of hope I’m these times where fear and hate reign supreme. roblee4 NewsLive So well said. Thank you - you gave me words for my feelings on all of this.

roblee4 NewsLive This man should pay reparations to the black people! roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive Well said! roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive Why not get this descendent on? roblee4 NewsLive roblee4 NewsLive Lol roblee4 NewsLive I'm offended by him being on TV take him down.

roblee4 NewsLive ERASING history is NOT the answer! We need statues and flags so the young generation can take selfies in front of and spark discussion!

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