The stained glass windows of Robert E Lee and George Washington were replaced by an Idaho church. The country’s first African Methodist Bishop wore an LGBTQ scarf

Leontine Kelly, the late bishop, died at 92 years old in 2012. She lived with her family in Richmond, Virginia, where Monument Avenue had featured monuments to Confederate leaders like Lee.

Later, the city took down the statue of Lee. He was a former Civil War General and slave owner.

Governor Ralph Northam had recommended the removal of the statue in June 2020 because Lee was thought to be a symbol for racial justice. 

In August 2020, the stained glass window of the Cathedral of the Rockies First Methodist Church, Boise, Idaho that featured Lee was removed.

According to the Idaho Statesman, this window was erected 1960 and featured Lee with Washington and Lincoln. 

Kelly stands now in the place of these men while wearing a LGBTQ scarf and proudly standing with her hands crossed. 

In 1984, she was elected the first black Methodist bishop.  

Kelly’s 1985 photo of Kelly calmly standing in protest against nuclear weapons inspired Kelly to portray the ex-bishop. 

A church in Boise, Idaho replaced a stained glass window featuring former Confederate leader Robert E Lee as well as former Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln

The space was replaced by the first female black Methodist bishop Leontine Kelly

Boise’s first female Methodist bishop Leontine Kelley replaced a stained-glass window with Robert E Lee (former Confederate leader) and other Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln.

Kelly, who died in 2012, had been inducted in her position at a ceremony in 1984

Kelly, who passed away in 2012, was inducted into her post at an 1984 ceremony

The Cathedral of the Rockies First Methodist Church paid $25,591 for the window which was placed on Tuesday

The Cathedral of the Rockies First Methodist Church paid $25,591 for the window which was placed on Tuesday

After the window had been empty for over a year and a half, it was reopened Tuesday with a new $25591 glass. 

“We voted for it to be removed, not knowing who we would place in the window. But we would find something to represent,” Duane Anders, a senior pastor, told the Statesman. 

“So for the past year and a quarter, all windows have been open. “In a way, we allowed some light to infiltrate.

Anders said Kelly was also one of the 50 potential candidates for the space.

According to him, “As the name list was being worked through, the one that stood out the most, due to our connection to them and their connection to Boise,” he stated. ‘And that’s Bishop Leontine Kelly.’

Kelly had been inducted into her position at a ceremony in Richmond in 1984

Kelly had been elected to her post in 1984 at a Richmond ceremony

The image used on the stained glass window was inspired by a photograph taken of Kelly at a protest against nuclear armaments

Kelly’s photograph at the protest against nuclear arms was inspiration for the design of the stained glass windows.

She had been the second woman elected for the role succeeding Marjorie S. Matthews who was the first

She had been the second woman elected for the role succeeding Marjorie S. Matthews who was the first

Willet Hauser Architectural Glass in Minnesota created the window and purchased it using its endowment fund.

Kelly’s children expressed their desire to see the window in her memory.

‘Some people were saying it can’t happen, it’s not going to happen,’ Kelly’s daughter Angella Current Felder said. 

“So it happened. For those of you who are able to recognize and believe the Holy Ghost, it was divinely directed.”

America’s first female black Methodist Bishop

Leonite Kelly was the first Black female Methodist Bishop in America in 1984.

On March 5, 1920 she was born in Washington DC. She had been raised by Ila Marshall Tupueau, a feminist activist and minister to the Methodists.

Kelly moved to Cincinatti in her own family’s footsteps. Her father was a four-term Ohio House Representative, and Kelly’s mother started the Urban League of Cincinatti.

Later, she attended West Virginia State University and then married Gloster. Current whom she had three children with before the couple got divorced

She divorced James David Kelly, a Methodist minister, and they moved to Richmond, Virginia, where she received her Bachelor’s degree and became a teacher.

Kelly, her husband’s widow, was asked to take his place. She became a certified laid speaker in Virginia and an elder in 1977.

She then made history in 1984 when she was elected as bishop by the Western Jurisdictional Conference of the U.M. Church

Kelly then served in the San Francisco Episcopal Area until her retirement in 1992

In addition, she was the President of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops where she managed approximately 100,000 members

Her lifetime was filled with advocacy for LGBTQ rights. She also spoke out against nuclear war.

Kelly received also the Thomas Merton Award 2002 and was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

On June 28, 2012, at the age 92 she passed away in Oakland, California at a retirement facility. 


Current Felder was at her mother’s ceremony of induction. She wore a lei from the orchards as well as a purple Nigerian outfit, which she claimed was symbolic of the presence and legacy of her ancestors.

Kelly was also a subject of her book Breaking Barriers, An African-American Familyand the Methodist Story.

Kelly’s son John Current spoke highly of his mother, who was elected to a position that had previously been held dominantly by men.  

He stated that the wooden church she was left with had been constructed 100 years before her, which is probably around the time that the Emancipation of Slave Act took place. A hole had also been dug in order to build a new foundation. ‘She, confronted with ‘Where do I go from here?’ responded, ‘God.’’

He added, “It is a male-dominated culture.” “But, Jesus violated the cultural customs in the way he spoke with women and shared his experiences with them. 

“Women are part of Jesus Christ’s entourage.” God can call whomever God wishes to call.

Current serves as the Senior Pastor at Hope United Methodist Church, San Francisco.  

He stated, “Her life was the culmination many generations of Methodist Church,” 

‘She was a daughter of a Methodist pastor, sister of a Methodist pastor, she married a Methodist pastor and she’s the mother of Methodist pastors. 

‘That’s a unique legacy, and we’re honored to see her memory in stained glass.’

Now, the Idaho Black History Museum is holding the former window that featured the historical leaders.

To educate the public about our country’s past, this window will be preserved.

Kelly was born Leontine Torpeau on March 5, 1920 to a Methodist minister dad and feminist mother.

She was raised in Cincinnati and attended West Virginia State University before leaving to marry her first husband Gloster B. She was married to Current, with whom she had three kids before they divorced.

In 1956, she married James David Kelly, a Methodist minister. She later moved to Richmond.

Kelly moved to Virginia Union University, where she received a bachelor’s in 1960. She then taught high school history.

Kelly was asked by her widow to take over for her husband in his post after his passing in 1969. Kelly at first looked skeptical.

However, she went back to school and completed a master of divinity degree from the Union Theological Seminary in Richmond. In 1972, she was made a Deacon and in 1977 as an Elder.

She became the second female bishop in 1984 succeeding Marjorie S. Matthews who was the first.

From then on, she served the San Francisco Episcopal Area up to her retirement in 1992. 

Kelly received also the Thomas Merton Award 2002 and was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Her legacy was also that of a social activist, who stood for LGBTQ rights as well as spoke against nuclear war.

Her death occurred at an Oakland retirement home.            

Robert E. Lee was a Confederate general, and he owned slaves. 

A portrait of Confederate general Robert E. Lee

Portrait of Robert E. Lee (Confederate General)

Robert E. Lee was an honored Confederate General.

In 1825, he joined the Army and was awarded the United States Military Academy degree in 1829. 

He married Mary Anna Randolph Custis, the only daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington, in 1831. 

In 1846, Lee was the first to see action in Mexico with the American military. He later served as major general of Virginia’s state forces. 

Lee took the Virginia estate from his father in law, who died 1857.

Lee was unable to manage the estate and had to take a leave of absence for two years from the army in order that he could reorganize it.

His slaves were held to high standards and he imposed harsh penalties on those who failed. 

His efforts led almost to slave rebellions at the site.

Three slaves were severely punished by Lee in 1859 – Wesley Norris’ sister Mary and one cousin of theirs after trying to escape from the plantation. 

The newspaper claimed that Lee had the men whipped after they were captured. 

Mary was given 20 lances, while her husband received 50. The pair then went to work in Virginia and Alabama on the railroads. 

Lee jailed many of his 200 slaves, and many were sold to traders. Only one family was left intact by the 1860 riots.  

He is believed to have told his son in 1868:  ‘You will never prosper with the blacks, and it is abhorrent to a reflecting mind to be supporting and cherishing those who are plotting and working for your injury, and all of whose sympathies and associations are antagonistic to yours.’ 

Lee refused to have Confederate monuments built in his honour after the Civil War and wanted to see the country move forward from that conflict.

The Southerners took Lee’s death as a wake-up call and adopted the ‘The Lost Cause,’ a revisionist narrative that focuses on the Civil War. The Last Cause claimed that the South was aware it was in a losing battle and decided to go on principle. The Last Cause also stated that slavery was irrelevant and the war was about high constitutional ideals.

The Lost Cause story gained popularity and proponents tried to commemorate Lee. However, they ignored Lee’s shortcomings as a general as well as his role as slave owner. Lee monuments were placed in 1920 at a time when Jim Crow segregation laws and the Ku Klux Klan’s revival was taking place.

Built in Charlottesville in Virginia in 1924, the Robert E. Lee monument was erected. One year later, Congress approved federal funding to help restore Lee’s mansion at Arlington National Cemetery.

Lee was honored by the U.S. Mint with a commemorative coin. Lee also appears on five stamps. Other than President Abraham Lincoln, no other Union figure has received similar honors. 

After the civil Rights Movement, residents of black and Latino communities began pressing elected officials to remove Lee and other Confederate memorials from places such as New Orleans and Houston. 

The reasons for the removals included violent acts of white supremacists using Confederate imagery as well historians questioning The Lost Cause’s legitimacy.

As the fourth monument to Confederate-era Confederate figures, a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue in New Orleans was taken from Lee Circle.

In 2016, the Houston Independent School District voted to change Robert E. Lee High school’s name, which is a school that has a high Latino student population, to Margaret Long Wisdom High.

In this June 30, 2015, photo, activists gather around the Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee statute at Lee Park chanting the names of Civil War era activists in Dallas

Photo taken June 30, 2015. Activists gather at Lee Park’s Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee statue, chanting names of Civil War-era activists.

Charlottesville’s City Council approved removing the Lee statue from its park. This prompted a lawsuit by opponents. White supremacists, neoNazis and others who venerated Lee and the Confederacy also opposed this debate. 

The controversial issue of monuments or memorials to Lee is still a major one. Virginia’s Supreme Court currently hears arguments regarding whether Virginia can take down Lee’s statue mounted on a horse at Richmond.

Monument depicts controversial general on horseback. This monument was dedicated in 1890. For decades, it has been the subject of intense debate in Richmond (the former capital of Confederacy). The monument was defaced by protestors last year who spray painted graffiti on it and condemned George Floyd’s passing. 

The statue of Lee at the U.S. Capitol in December was taken down and replaced by Barbara Johns (civil rights pioneer). After Ralph Northam (Virginia Governor) requested that it be removed, the statue of Lee in the U.S. Capitol was replaced with one by Barbara Johns. This was because Lee was no longer considered to be a proper symbol for Virginia. 

A number of calls have been made to alter the names of military bases, such as Fort Lee, named after Lee, which bears the names of slave owners.