New group pushing to move Lee statue, portrait

This Robert E. Lee portrait hangs in County Commission chambers at the Lee County Courthouse.

FORT MYERS, Fla. About 20 people rallied downtown Monday in support of moving two Robert E. Lee memorials into a museum.

The group, called Transgender Advocates for Revolution, wants Lee County commissioners to relocate a Robert E. Lee bust in the median on Monroe Street and a Robert E. Lee portrait in county commission chambers to “any local museum, as they see fit.”

“We’re not trying to wipe out history. You can’t,” group spokeswoman Cynthia Odierna said. “But we believe that history, assuming that it’s connected with violence, belongs in a museum.”

Commissioners could vote as early as Tuesday on a proposal from the Lee County NAACP to replace the Lee portrait, which shows him in a Confederate uniform, with one of him in a suit.

The Transgender Advocates for Revolution are distinct from the NAACP but said they’re acting in solidarity with them.

At least a couple of people who support keeping the Lee monuments where they are attended Monday’s rally.

“Hiding him away in a museum where nobody’s going to see him is not right,” Robert Mroz said. “And this is just the beginning of a slippery slope.”

It’s unclear whether, or when, commissioners will consider the museum proposal.