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Ku Klux Klan Plaque Found At The Entrance Of West Point Science Center
West Point is one of the most prestigious military schools in the country. Unfortunately, on one of the doors of its buildings there’s a plaque with a man in a hood at the entrance to Bartlett Hall with the words Ku Klux Klan. Bartlett Hall is the school’s science center on the West Point campus.
The Congressional Naming Commission was established by Congress. They are to advise on renaming Confederate markers for the Department of Defense and delivered their second report on Monday. The Confederate markers at West Point and the US Naval Academy were the focal points of the report. The commission states the plaque doesn’t fall within their wheelhouse. Their only job is creating new names for Confederate markers at military schools.
Confederate veterans established the Ku Klux Klan after the Civil War. They are classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and are still active this present day. The Secretary of Defense was told by the commission “to address DoD assets that highlight the K.K.K.” and “create a standard disposition requirement for such assets,” stated in the report.
The part of the plaque that has “Ku Klux Klan” is actually from just a portion of the artwork. At the entrance of Barrett Hall the triptych has three panels and is 11 feet by 5 feet tall. Then they mentioned the hooded character on the design is in a “small section” of one of the panels. The panel reads “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible”. The artwork was dedicated to graduates who served in World War II and Korea.
Laura Gardin Fraser was the sculptor behind the triptych. She “wanted to create art that depicted ‘historical incidents or persons’ that symbolized the principled events of that time, thereby documenting both tragedy and triumph in our nation’s history.”
“West Point does not accept, condone, or promote racism, sexism, or any other biases. The Academy continues to graduate its most diverse classes ever with respect to ethnicity, gender, experience, and background,” stated the Public Affairs office in a statement.
“We are reviewing the recommendations and will collaborate with the Department of the Army to implement changes, once approved,” the commission wrote in a statement. “West Point’s mission is to develop leaders of character who internalize Army Values, the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country, and the Army Ethic. As a values-based institution, we are fully committed to creating a climate where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
For many years the departments have been trying to rename the bases with Confederate monikers. But did not become such a hot topic until the end of President Trump’s presidency. Trump opposed the concept and stated the people just wanted to “throw those names away.”
Trump initially vetoed the development of the commission within the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act but Congress overturned this veto and received bipartisan approval support.
The commission has already identified 15 assets associated with West Point and US Naval Academy.