Congressman: Remove Confederate traces from West Point

Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 2:55 PM EDT
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The U.S. Military Academy has been asked again to rename buildings honoring Confederate officers like Robert E. Lee by the Democratic congressman who represents the area.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney sent a letter co-signed by 21 other members of Congress to the secretaries of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense on Thursday saying there shouldn't be facilities at West Point named for those who “betrayed their Country during the Civil War.”

“It is because of that deep respect for the school and its mission, we believe we must correct the hurtful and outdated practice of honoring at West Point certain Americans who engaged in armed rebellion against the United States in support of racism and slavery,” read the letter.

The letter did not provide examples, but West Point has a cadet barracks and a gate named for Lee, the Confederate general who is one of the academy’s most famous graduates. Lee also served as West Point's superintendent.

Maloney has made the request before, but the issue has become more prominent since George Floyd’s death spurred an intense reexamination of statues of historical figures, as well as streets and buildings named for them. Two Congress members in New York City this month requested that Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue at an Army installation in Brooklyn be renamed.

Similar calls have been made to rename U.S. military bases that bear the names of Confederate officers, an effort that President Donald Trump opposes but has some support among Republicans in Congress.

Emails seeking comment were sent Friday to the Army, the Department of Defense and West Point.