NEW YORK – Today, the Fort Hamilton Army Base renamed a street honoring a Confederate leader. In 2020, the National Defense Authorization Act established a Naming Commission within the Department of Defense, which provides “naming, renaming, and removal recommendations to Congress for all Department of Defense items that commemorate the Confederate States of America or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America.” Therefore, when the Naming Commission provides their final report to Congress on or before October 1, 2022, General Robert E. Lee Avenue will not be included.
The following statement is from the Southern Poverty Law Center Chief of Staff and Culture Lecia Brooks:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) applauds the Fort Hamilton Army Base for choosing to honor an authentic American hero, as opposed to a disgraced leader who waged war against his own country.
“As the posthumous recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Medal of Honor, and numerous other distinctions, First Lieutenant John E. Warren, Jr. gave his life during the Vietnam War, saving three of his fellow soldiers from injury or death. Renaming this street after First Lieutenant Warren is a fitting tribute to a Black service member whose devotion to this country in the Army will forever make Brooklyn proud.
“Despite this positive step forward, ten known Confederate memorials remain in New York and all are associated with the military, including Stonewall Jackson Drive—also at Fort Hamilton. The remaining memorials are located at West Point, several of which were listed in the SPLC’s 2021 data drop identifying Confederate symbols associated with the military.
“In the spirit of Memorial Day, we urge West Point to follow Fort Hamilton’s lead by removing the remaining symbols of hate from its campus within the three-year-period as directed by the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. We also encourage Fort Hamilton leaders to not miss this opportunity to get on the right side of history by quickly renaming Stonewall Jackson Drive after someone the entire borough can look up to.”
Earlier this year, the SPLC released the third edition of its Whose Heritage? report, data, and map, which tracks public symbols of the Confederacy across the United States. The report shows that more than 2,000 Confederate memorials are still publicly present in the U.S. and over 700 of those are monuments.