North Carolina has a stake in the U.S. Army’s decision this week to resist changing the names of two streets at Fort Hamilton, N.Y., because they honor Confederate generals.
Fort Bragg, about 55 miles south of Raleigh, is also named after a Confederate general, Braxton Bragg and it could have faced challenges had the Army decided otherwise. Bragg was born in Warrenton.
Two streets at Fort Hamilton are named after Confederate figures: Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson
The push to remove those names comes at a time when some cities across the nation are debating the issue of moving Confederate monuments and removing Confederate names from parks. To date, New Orleans is the best known city to move forward with such a plan.
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This week, Asheboro became the latest community to field a request to remove a Confederate monument. Wesley Fennell, a former NAACP president, asked the Randolph County commission to replace a Confederate monument with one honoring the Quakers, reported the Winston-Salem Journal.
To date, suggestions to change Fort Bragg’s name have been limited to newspaper and social media editorials, which have called for removing all Confederate names from U.S. military facilities.
CNN reported Monday that the Army declined to change the street names at Fort Hamilton, because it says they honor soldiers who played a significant role in American history “as individuals, not as any particular cause or ideology.”
U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke of Brooklyn led the effort to change the street names, media outlets reported.
Clarke dismissed the Army’s “excuse” in an interview with the Brooklyn Daily.
“The department claims that the streets were named ‘in the spirit of reconciliation.’ But that reconciliation was actually complicity by the North and the South to ignore the interests of African Americans and enforce white supremacy, effectively denying the result of the Civil War for generations,” she told the Brooklyn Daily.
A spokesman for Clarke told CNN they will continue to explore legislative options.
The idea of renaming Confederate-related Army sites first surfaced in 2015, after white supremacist Dylann Roof was photographed with a Confederate battle flag before killing nine people in a Charleston church.
Virtually all of the major bases carrying Confederate officers’ names are Army installations. Among the key ones:
▪ Fort Bragg, command center for Army airborne and special forces, is named after Gen. Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general and close friend of Jefferson Davis, the Confederacy’s president, from their days fighting side by side in the U.S. Army in the Mexican War.
▪ Fort Hood in Texas, the U.S. military’s largest base, with more than 53,000 soldiers, is a major training hub named after Gen. John Bell Hood, who commanded Confederate troops and was wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg.
▪ Fort Gordon, home of the Army Signal Corps in Augusta, Ga., was named after Gen. John Brown Gordon, a close confidant of Confederate Army Commander Robert E. Lee who spent much of his later life denying widespread reports that he had headed the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.