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SPLC identifies 64 new Confederate symbols associated with the U.S. military

As part of its ongoing update of information about Confederate iconography across the U.S., the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified 64 additional memorials and other Confederate symbols associated with the U.S. military.

The SPLC released the new data about Confederate memorials at military installations today.

The majority are located at service academies, including the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and the U.S. Military Academy West Point, and military colleges like The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

Annapolis has three memorials; West Point has five; The Citadel has 20; and VMI has 28.

“Symbols of white supremacy should never have been associated with the military because they glorify a system of racial oppression and exclusion,” said SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks. “As I testified during a congressional hearing earlier this year, there is no reason to wait three years to rename the Army’s 10 bases, nor the military’s numerous ships, roads, buildings and memorials named after Confederate leaders. The time to act is now.”

View a complete list of more than 80 Confederate symbols associated with the military here. Only five have been removed from military installations or renamed since 2018.

The SPLC began cataloguing Confederate symbols in public spaces following the 2015 murders of nine Black people during a Bible study at the historic “Mother Emanuel” A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a gunman who was radicalized by white supremacist websites. The data was compiled in the SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report.

The biggest spike in the dedication of Confederate memorials associated with the military came in the 1910s and 1960s, corroborating the SPLC’s earlier findings that these memorials were installed as part of an organized propaganda campaign in response to Reconstruction and the civil rights movement.

“The presence of these dehumanizing and oppressive displays and symbols is directly linked to white supremacist activity in the military,” Brooks said. “We’ve seen encouraging progress made, such as the National Defense Authorization Act’s mandate to remove Confederate names from Department-owned property within three years and the Marine Corps’ decision to remove any and all symbols of the Confederacy from their public and workspaces. But until a more inclusive military is established, this country cannot honestly work towards a more equitable American landscape.”

Learn more about how communities are dismantling a whitewashed history of the Confederacy and sparking a reckoning with the truth about its cruel legacy by listening to the SPLC’s podcast, Sounds Like Hate.

Photo by AP Images/Rainier Ehrhardt