The society is an oratory organization that meets weekly during the school year. Members must have participated in at least one debate and pay $20 a semester in dues. Pierce said the society’s chamber include portraits of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and political activist and writer Emma Goldman.
Pierce said society members had previously discussed removing the painting, which she said is in the society’s upper chamber. Lee was a leading general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
A national debate over materials honoring Confederate leaders raged after avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof was sentenced to death for killing nine African-Americans attending a Bible study lesson in their Charleston, S.C. church in 2015. The arguments flared again this month after a woman was killed during protests in Charlottesville, led on one side by neo-Nazis, white nationalists and the Ku Klux Klan. President Donald Trump angered many by criticizing recent decisions to remove Confederate monuments across the country.
Since Charlottesville, some campuses have removed or announced plans to take down monuments and statues of Lee and others. Those campuses include the University of Texas, Duke University and Bronx Community College.
In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams has called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts Lee and two other Confederate leaders on state-owned Stone Mountain.