A large group gathered in front of Hollywood City Hall during a City Commission meeting to demonstrate in favor of removing street signs named after Confederate generals Robert E. Lee, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest. Another group of people demonstrated in favor of keeping the signs in place. As the demonstrators on both sides grew louder and angrier, a group of Hollywood police officers positioned themselves between the two groups.
During the City Commission meeting, five demonstrators entered the commission chambers and began yelling about no racists signs and no KKK and shame. The five people were removed from the commission chambers and arrested by the Hollywood Police.
During the demonstration, people identifying themselves as conservatives angrily yelled at the opposing side about a lack of respect for American values. Others said they wanted to preserve history by keeping the signs in place.
Linda Schainberg said one of her ancestors fought for the Confederacy as an infantry soldier, “You can’t erase history. We should honor those people who fought for the Confederacy,” she said.
Wendy King, a leaders of the demonstrators in favor of changing the street signs said, “We want the Commission to change the street sign names. The names, Forrest, Lee and Hood are an insult to the community,” she said.
Benjamin Israel, a community activist who has long campaigned to have the signs taken down spoke at the Commission meeting, He said the generals who are honored with street signs were not heroes they were traitors. He compared naming the streets after them as like naming a street after Jack the Ripper.
A large group of people stepped up to comment about the importance of taking down the signs. They consider it an insult that the signs honoring Confederate leaders are still in place. They discussed years of indignities suffered by African Americans because of racism and the fact that racism is still a serious problem in the United States.
This demonstration was the latest and largest demonstration against the street signs. Some of the people in favor of keeping the signs in place were angry about other things, including a perceived attack on conservative values. A group of community activists have spoken at other commission meetings and public venues in favor of removing the signs. People have spoken bitterly about the signs as representing an ugly past and honoring men who fought to destroy the United States and keep people in slavery.
Others have spoken in favor of keeping the signs in place out of respect for history and the men whose names are on the signs. Some residents who live on the streets like the street sign names and don’t want the inconvenience and expense of changing all their personal documents.
David Rosenthal lives on Forrest Street and does not want the name on his street changed. “I don’t want to have to pay money to have my [personal] documents changed. I don’t think the street signs should be changed,” he said.