MONTGOMERY – 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 recommended new names for nine military installations honoring Confederate leaders. In 2021 the National Defense Authorization Act established this Naming Commission, 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.” The panel will provide its final report to Congress on or before October 1, 2022.
The following statement is from the Southern Poverty Law Center Chief of Staff and Culture Lecia Brooks:
“We are pleased with the Naming Commission’s recommendations for all nine military bases. Choosing to primarily honor the diverse legacies of women and People of Color – who have long been the backbone of America’s success story but are rarely acknowledged – is long overdue.
“But the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed in 2021. As of today, the Department of Defense (DoD) still lists over 700 assets up for review. Most of those assets have not yet been renamed or removed so we must ask – why is it taking so long to do what’s right?
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle passed the NDAA during a time noted for its lack of bipartisanship. This legislation helps to resolve the shameful, unearned glorification of treasonous men who promoted slavery, oppression, and hate.
“As stated during my Congressional hearing testimony last year, there is no reason to wait to rename all the military’s bases, vessels, roads, buildings, and other memorials named after Confederate leaders. The time to act is now!
“As we approach Memorial Day, our annual time to revere and pay tribute to those who died in honorable service to our country, the SPLC asks that immediate action be taken to rename the nine military bases now that replacement names have been recommended.
“The SPLC also urges military leaders to submit changes to the 700+ outstanding assets by October 1, 2022 as directed by the NDAA. And because there is no reason to delay the inevitable, ensure that all items are renamed or removed well before the January 24, 2024 final deadline set by the DoD.”
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.