Flawed history of Lee Park

Idea to memorialize Robert E. Lee in Baltimore didn't start with Robert Garrett

In his letter ("The divisive history of Robert E. Lee Park's name," July 26), Garrett Power erroneously attempts to link the naming of Robert E. Lee Park to Robert Garrett, a former chairman of Baltimore City's Department of Recreation and Parks. In doing so, he references Mr. Garrett's segregationist viewpoint and mistakenly concludes, "Under the circumstances, it appears that when Garrett named the park for Robert E. Lee it was less a tribute to a valiant general and more his signal that the park was for those of the superior white race only."

Such a specious and divisive conclusion cannot go unanswered, particularly when it was Elizabeth B. Garrett White who bequeathed substantial funds in her will for a fitting memorial to Robert E. Lee. Robert Garrett, her nephew and executor, requested permission of the Baltimore City Circuit Court to substitute, under the terms of her will, a memorial park to Robert E. Lee instead of a monument.

Arguably, the Circuit Court allowed Mr. Garrett considerable latitude in honoring his aunt's expressed wishes. Her will directed that the bequest be used to establish a memorial to General Lee. While Mr. Garrett may have been a segregationist as well as an opportunist, he was not responsible for the naming of the park. The naming of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Park honors the specified terms of the donor, Elizabeth Garrett White, who admired Robert E. Lee as a great American and a positive role model.

Terry Klima, Perry Hall

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