Having been born and raised in Gainesville, I naturally attended city schools.
My older siblings and I all attended Robert E. Lee. The school was built in 1929 and grades were first through seven. R.E. Lee was a wonderful school that molded my start in education.
The school’s namesake, Robert E. Lee, was a very honorable and Christian gentleman. Graduated West Point with honors, served 26 years in the U.S. Army, involved in Army Corps of Engineers projects in New York, Florida, Baltimore and Savannah Harbor. Fought Indians on the border and also fought in the Mexican War and was superintendent of West Point.
Gen. Lee did not buy slaves. He inherited some from his mother, then his wife, Mary Custis, inherited slaves from her father, George Washington Parke Custis, adopted son of George Washington. Within five years of his death, the Custis family slaves were to be freed. This caused much distress to Lee because the estate was in so much debt, so he petitioned unsuccessfully to have that period lengthened. Lee was offered command of the U.S. Army when the war was starting. He refused to fight against his people of Virginia.
I do not have a Ph.D. nor college degree, but I have studied the War Between the States for over 50 years and have yet to find slavery as the issue. Slavery was introduced into the war by Abraham Lincoln as a motive to inspire his troops to fight.
The name Robert E. Lee should remain on the school and the city monuments where they have stood for so many, many years.
Without history, there is no past or future. Now is the time for our city fathers and school board to be strong and stop the nonsense occurring in Gainesville. Perhaps the pastors in the city will hold prayer vigils for what is happening all over America. So very tragic indeed.
Lila B. Davis, Lake Kiowa