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A Church in Virginia Will Remove Robert E. Lee From Its Name

After nearly two years of debate, the R.E. Lee Episcopal Church in Lexington, Virginia, will officially change its name. Leaders made the decision in a surprisingly close 7-5 vote.

After the Civil War, Lee famously moved to Lexington where he became the president of Washington College—which is now called “Washington Lee University.” While there, he joined what was then called Grace Episcopal and became a leader in the church.

However, following the shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina—where white supremacist gunman Dylann Roof murdered nine people at a Bible study—some members recommended the change. The issue became so contentious for the congregation that they hired a conflict resolution consultant to work with the church.

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Though it’s taken years, after the violence in Charlottesville, the church said it was time to “move on.” It will now once again be called Grace Episcopal for the first time since 1903.

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