WEST POINT – Any reference to the Confederacy that is visible at the US Military Academy at West Point is going to disappear in the not-too-distant future.
Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland announced on Tuesday that “in accordance with the Department of Defense directives,” anything that commemorates or memorializes the Confederacy or those who voluntarily served with it will be removed.
The commander said the directives are based on recommendations from the Congressional Naming Commission and approved by the Secretary of Defense.
Over the holiday break, the portrait of Robert E. Lee in Confederate uniform at Jefferson Hall – the library – will be placed in storage and the portrait of Ulysses S. Grant will be moved from the library to Grant Hall.
The stone bust of Lee in Reconciliation Plaza will be placed in storage while the bust of Grant will be moved to the front of Grant Hall.
Gillard also said the bronze triptych at the main entrance to Bartlett Hall will be placed in storage “until a more suitable location is determined.”
Lee’s quote at Honor Plaza will be replaced by early spring 2023.
Also, stone markers in Reconciliation Plaza that commemorate the Confederacy will be modified “with appropriate language and images that comply with the commission’s recommendations, while still conveying the Plaza’s central message of reconciliation,” the superintendent wrote in a letter to the Long Gray Line and West Point community.
He also said by the end of this year, the Memorialization, History, and Museum Committee will recommend names to replace the streets, buildings and areas throughout West Point currently named for persons who served in the Confederacy, specifically, Lee Road, Beauregard Place, and Hardee Place; Lee Barracks; Lee Housing Area; and Lee Child Development Center.
Once new names have been selected, the renaming process will begin in spring 2023.
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18), who lost his re-election bid in November, is glad to see this direction being taken.
“On a campus dedicated to educating the future leaders of our nation’s military, there is no suitable location for a symbol of hatred like a plaque immortalizing the Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “For years, I’ve pushed West Point and our armed forces to remove and rename buildings and monuments related to the Confederacy and I am thrilled to see progress is finally being made.”