West Point to Rename Places Commemorating Robert E. Lee and Remove Confederate Symbols

West Point, the U.S. Military Academy, is taking steps to remove Confederate statues and symbols from its campus in response to a federal order issued by the Department of Defense in October. As part of a “multi-phased process,” the academy will remove or modify displays honoring the Confederacy, including a portrait of Robert E. Lee in Confederate uniform, a stone bust of Lee, bronze plaques dedicated to him and other Confederate figures, and various facilities named after him. CBS News reports the portrait and stone bust will be placed in storage until a new location is found for them.

In addition to removing or modifying existing displays, West Point is also planning to replace a quote from Robert E. Lee displayed in a campus plaza with “an appropriate quote about honor.” The school will consult with the Class of 1957 to select the new quote in the coming weeks. The academy will also review a series of stone markers in another campus plaza commemorating the Confederacy and modify them with “appropriate language and images” starting in the spring. 

Changes to West Point property bearing Lee’s name, including renaming roads, buildings, and facilities such as a dormitory and child development center, are set to be completed by the end of next year, according to Steven Gilland, the academy’s superintendent. He stated, “We will conduct these actions with dignity and respect. In the case of those items that were class gifts (specifically, Honor Plaza and Reconciliation Plaza), we will continue to work closely with those classes throughout this process. Any costs associated with the Commission’s recommendations will be resourced within the Department of Defense.”

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