Urges Prompt Action to Remove Confederate Assets and Symbols from All Military Property
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the Commission on the Naming of Items of the Department of Defense that Commemorate the Confederate States of America or Any Person Who Served Voluntarily with the Confederate States of America (the “Naming Commission”) released its final report to Congress for all Department of Defense assets. These items, including nine Army bases, are to be renamed, modified and/or removed by January 2024.
The following statement is from the Southern Poverty Law Center Chief of Staff and Culture Lecia Brooks:
“Our commemorative landscape in the United States reflects and shapes our nation’s values and should reinforce our commitment to democracy, freedom, and justice. The branches of the United States Military are the most vital spaces to demonstrate these privileges.
“In three reports, the Naming Commission has identified more than 800 items honoring the Confederacy on military property. The fact that they are located in 20 states and Washington, D.C. — as well as Germany and Japan — reveal just how deeply rooted white supremacy culture has been within military ranks.
“We appreciate the comprehensive work of the Naming Commission. And now it is time to promptly act to rename and remove these assets – starting immediately with the nine Army bases honoring Confederate leaders. The first report of the Commission, released in August, included recommendations for new names for these nine bases. There is no cause for further delay.
“The 1910s and 1960s saw the biggest spike in the dedication of Confederate memorials associated with the military, substantiating evidence that these memorials went up as part of an organized propaganda campaign in response to Reconstruction and the Civil Rights movement. As a result, taxpayer dollars are being used today to support Confederate memorials in our national parks, in our Capitol, in our military, and in veteran’s cemeteries. This does not include the 2,000-plus Confederate memorials that sit on public property across the US which are also maintained with taxpayer dollars.
“People of color should never have had to serve on Confederate-named military bases – a constant, painful reminder of the white supremacy and racism that has stained our democracy since this country's inception. Now that the Naming Commission has released its final report, it is time to do the right thing.
“We urge all branches of the military to quickly remove these undeserved honors of treasonous men who took up arms against the United States to maintain the treacherous inhumane enslavement of Black people starting immediately, with the nine Army bases.”
In February 2022 the SPLC released the third edition of itsWhose Heritage? report,data, andmap, 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.