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Pastor claiming to be descendant of Robert E. Lee isn’t actually related

A pastor who claimed to be a descendent of Robert E. Lee throughout a collection of high-profile civil rights speeches denouncing the Accomplice isn’t related to the final in any respect, it has been revealed.

The Rev. Robert Lee IV first hit the highlight in 2016 when The Washington Put up profiled him, calling him “the great-great-great-great-nephew of Accomplice Military Gen. Robert E. Lee.”

The reverend then continued making the heritage declare in a collection of high-profile appearances, together with when he praised Black Lives Matter on the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.

“We’ve got made my ancestor an idol of white supremacy, racism and hate,” he stated on the awards present, which adopted the lethal white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that was a protest to take away a statue to the final.

Robert E. Lee
Rev. Lee had spoken out in opposition to the “weight and accountability” of his purported relative’s actions.
Bettmann Archive

“As a pastor, it’s my ethical obligation to communicate out in opposition to racism, America’s unique sin,” he stated on the time, stepping down from his North Carolina church after his feedback sparked anger amongst his congregation.

It solely helped increase his profile, nonetheless, and Lee continued denouncing his supposed ancestor in a collection of media outbursts, together with TV’s “The View.”

“I would like it to be stated of me that there was a Lee in historical past who stood up for one thing that was proper,” he informed the ABC daytime discuss present.

He returned to the highlight final yr after the loss of life of George Floyd, becoming a member of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam within the bid to take away statues honoring the final — nonetheless claiming he was a relative.

The reverend even spoke at a Home committee listening to final yr.

 A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee
Rev. Lee joined others within the push to take away statues of Normal Lee.
Getty Photographs

After first writing about Lee, The Washington Put up invited him final yr to pen an op-ed through which he stated he had “borne the load and accountability” of his “lineage” to Lee.

However the identical paper questioned its personal earlier reporting Friday when it revealed an exhaustive fact-check into the reverend’s historical past.

“There is no such thing as a proof that Rob Lee, who was born in North Carolina, is related to Robert E. Lee, in accordance to The Reality Checker’s evaluate of historic and genealogical information,” wrote the paper’s fact-checker, Glenn Kessler.

The research was primarily based on a information search aided by a retired lawyer and Civil Warfare chronicler named Joseph Ryan, in addition to an official at Stratford Corridor, the ancestral residence of the Virginia Lee household, the paper stated.

Minister Lee speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina during a campaign event for former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.
Minister Lee speaks in Charlotte, North Carolina throughout a marketing campaign occasion for former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.
Getty Photographs

“As an alternative, he seems to be a descendant of Robert S. Lee, also referred to as ‘Uncle Bob,’ who served within the Accomplice forces — however was not a basic,” Kessler wrote of the research.

He urged it could have been a mistake, writing, “Household tales and reminiscences can typically be inaccurate.”

Lee didn’t reply to the paper’s analysis — however later blamed “household dynamics that make this tough” to clarify.

“Why the Put up is so targeted on my heritage and lineage whereas not specializing in the problems of the statue at hand is past me,” he stated, whereas revealing that he had eliminated his title from a lawsuit searching for a Accomplice statue’s elimination.

He later insisted that he had not “sought fortune” by his declare, and stated “sorry” to those that “really feel this discredits me or breaks belief.”

“And, for distraction and de-centering voices of coloration, I’m sorry,” he wrote, saying he was “taking a while away.”

Shani George, vice chairman for communications at The Washington Put up, insisted that the paper does “our greatest to confirm a contributor’s credentials.”

 Rev. Robert W. Lee
Rev. Lee even spoke at a Home committee listening to final yr.
Getty Photographs

“This was clearly a extra sophisticated case, although on the time, our analysis gave us no cause to doubt his lineage claims,” George stated.

About the author

Donna Miller

Donna is one of the oldest contributors of Gruntstuff and she has a unique perspective with regards to Science which makes her write news from the Science field. She aims to empower the readers with the delivery of apt factual analysis of various news pieces from Science. Donna has 3.5 years of experience in news-based content creation, and she is now an expert at it. She loves journalism, and that is the reason, she moved from a web content writer to a News writer, and she is loving it. She is a fun-loving woman who has very good connections with every team member. She makes the working environment cheerful which improves the team’s work productivity.

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