West Point will remove Confederate symbols from its campus

West Point will remove Confederate symbols from its campus

NEW YORK – Before turning against the U.S. military to command the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee served as superintendent of West Point, the sacred military academy that produced patriots like Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower.

But in the coming days, the famed academy will retrieve a portrait of Lee in his Confederate uniform from its library, where it has hung since the 1950s, and put it into storage. It will also remove the stone bust of the Civil War’s top southern general in Reconciliation Square. And Lee’s quote about honor is removed from the Academy’s place of honor.

The moves are part of a Defense Department directive issued in October that orders the academy to address racial injustice and eliminate facilities that “commemorate or commemorate the Confederacy.”

This includes a trio of bronze plaques, 11 feet high and 5 feet wide, depicting significant events and figures in US history, including Benjamin Franklin and Clara Barton. But the oversized plaques, dedicated in 1965, featured not only Lee and other Confederacy supporters, but also an image of a gunman with a hood, including “Ku Klux Klan.”

The Congressional Naming Commission that initiated the changes to the Academy noted that “there are clear ties in the KKK to the Confederacy”.

In a message published on the academy’s website, Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland, the academy’s superintendent, said it would begin to honor the commission’s recommendations during the holiday break.

“We will carry out these actions with dignity and respect,” he said.

The United States Military Academy, as West Point is officially called, was founded in 1809 on the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York.

The school has about 4,600 cadets, according to federal figures, of whom two-thirds are white and about 13% are black.

West Point wasn’t the only property under scrutiny by the congressional commission. It was also recommended that eight other installations deal with symbols of the racist past.

The US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland renamed buildings and streets commemorating Confederate admirals or those who attempted to continue black enslavement.

More than half a dozen of the commission’s recommendations for West Point refer to Lee, who graduated second in his class in 1829 and later served as superintendent.

The commission recommended renaming Lee Barracks, Lee Road, Lee Gate, Lee Housing Area and Lee Area Child Development Center.

The report states that Lee’s armies were “responsible for the deaths of more US soldiers than virtually any other enemy in our nation’s history.”

Two other Confederate officers in the commission’s crosshairs were West Point graduates PGT Beauregard and William Hardee. The panel called for the renaming of Beauregard Place and Hardee Place.

It wasn’t until the early 1930s that West Point began installing Confederate monuments, the commission noted, saying it did so under pressure from the revisionist “Lost Cause” movement, which sought to restate and depict the causes of the Civil War who fought for the Civil War The Confederacy deserves credit for their sacrifices.

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