Kappa Alpha, Fraternity That Reveres Robert E. Lee, Faces Revolt Over Racism

“I advised them it was unacceptable and offensive to me and my household,” he recalled.

His proposal to take away the portrait, donated by an alumnus, proved extra contentious. Although it has since come down, it remained hanging throughout alumni weekend in 2015, partially as a result of Mr. Martin, whose father and uncles had additionally been Kappa Alphas, advocated for it.

The fraternity had lengthy taught its pledges that Lee was a “excellent gentleman,” and Mr. Martin had believed on the time that his private traits may very well be separated from his navy management within the Confederacy. Apart from, he had argued then, it was not smart to alienate alumni donors.

The 2 hadn’t spoken in a number of years. However Mr. Martin stated he had since come to grasp why Lee is broadly seen as a logo of racial intimidation. And discussions with Black members of his church after Mr. Floyd’s dying, Mr. Martin stated, compelled him to apologize for having “completely missed the plot,” as he put it in a textual content to Mr. Clark.

“T Mart!’’ replied Mr. Clark, invoking Mr. Martin’s nickname and waving apart the apology, “Good to listen to from you.”

Just a few days later, Mr. Martin posted the primary draft of the assertion.

Beneath Kappa Alpha guidelines, chapters have extensive leeway to make public statements. And by early July, the chapter at Washington and Lee College in Virginia, a faculty embroiled in a campus-wide debate over dropping Lee from its identify, had publicly renounced its ties to the final.

However the Southwestern chapter’s assertion was “incendiary,’’ Larry Wiese, the fraternity’s govt director, advised the chapter’s president, Santiago Fernandez. If revealed unaltered, Mr. Wiese wrote in an e mail, it “may harm your chapter, the opposite chapters or the Order as an entire.”

“They stated they’d instantly droop us if we launch it,” Mr. Fernandez reported to the chat group.

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