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To: Secretaries of Defense, Army and Navy & Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services and Appropriations Committees

Remove Confederate Names at West Point and Annapolis

Campaign created by
David Delaney

Section 370 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 requires the removal of all Confederate honors/names/symbols within three years. Congress enacted this law today (1/1/21) with a vote to override the president's veto.

Remove Confederate Names at West Point and Annapolis

Teaching leadership and educating our nation's military leaders requires a commitment to highest national ideals. As institutions that embody those ideals, U.S. military academies must be free of Confederate symbols and honors because they perpetuate racial discord and white supremacy. Tell our Congress and military leaders it is time to remove the names of Confederate leaders from buildings and other infrastructure at West Point and the Naval Academy.

Why is this important?

Since President Thomas Jefferson founded the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1802, the federal government has expanded and improved the education of military leaders. Two centuries later, however, the national declaration that "all men are created equal" remains unfulfilled. Naming academy buildings, roads, and other infrastructure for Confederate leaders at West Point and Annapolis perpetuates American inequality.

At West Point, a barracks constructed in 1962--the height of the civil rights movement--was named for Robert E. Lee. At the Naval Academy, an engineering building and the superintendent's house were named for Confederate naval leaders in 1907 and 1976, respectively. Both academies also have roads and other infrastructure named for Confederate leaders.

I recently urged West Point Superintendent LTG Darryl A. Williams, a fellow West Point graduate, to rename Lee Barracks and other infrastructure to "serve the nation’s paramount quest for a more equitable and just society under law." He wrote that "the Academy -- as a subordinate command of the Army -- will not act independently on this issue," "Confederate memorialization is an Army issue," and West Point recognizes "individuals who are a part of our history as an institution and a nation, not as representatives of a cause."

The Confederacy and its leaders, however, will always stand principally for disunity, racism, and white supremacy. Honoring Confederate leaders at military academies reveres those values over equality and liberty. It is time for the nation's self-described premier leadership development institutions to replace Confederate names so they more fully express and honor Americans' highest values.

Those values are clearly expressed through countless state and local officials who have removed Confederate statues and other divisive symbols from public spaces since the violent racist attacks in Charleston, SC in 2015 and Charlottesville, VA in 2017. State and local officials are fulfilling citizens' interests and leading an important democratic change movement where the federal government is failing.

Sign this petition to:
- tell the Defense Department and Congress to align the academies' values with your values;
- support legislation that will require and fund the removal of Confederate honors at the military academies;
- give your children better environments to learn leadership and selfless public service.


2021-01-23 14:57:35 -0500

Retired general and West Point history professor Ty Seidule brings great perspective and scholarship to this topic. CBS reporter notes that West Point hopes to remove all Confederate names/memorials within 1 year...2 years sooner than the law now requires.

2021-01-22 13:04:27 -0500

Lloyd Austin's confirmation as the first Black defense secretary is a welcome historic moment. His leadership and personal experience in the ranks will undoubtedly help ensure the success of removing Confederate symbols under the 2021 NDAA.

2021-01-10 12:43:21 -0500

On Friday, January 8, 2021, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller appointed Sean McLean, Josh Whitehouse, Ann Thomas (A.T.) G. Johnston, and Earl Matthews to the commission that will develop the plan to remove all Confederate names/symbols/memorials/etc. from defense department assets. All currently hold (or have held) political appointments in the Trump administration. Look for President Biden's permanent or acting defense secretary to appoint new individuals in time for the commission's first meeting, which the NDAA sets 60 days following enactment (March 2).

2021-01-04 10:45:14 -0500

Petition is successful with 5,901 signatures

2021-01-01 15:58:54 -0500

Success! With today's (1/1/21) enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, ALL Confederate names, symbols, monuments, etc. will be removed from ALL Defense Department assets (which includes the military service academies) by 1/1/24.

NY Times article:

2020-12-24 12:59:25 -0500

We have nearly reached our goal of removing all Confederate names and honors from West Point and the Naval Academy! This change was not on the defense department's to-do list in January, but YOUR willingness to define a better future for our military and nation has helped turn the tide.

On Dec. 11, the Senate and House passed the 2021 defense spending bill with a sweeping elimination of "all names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America (commonly referred to as the "Confederacy") or any person who served voluntarily with the Confederate States of America from all assets of the Department of Defense" within 3 years.

Despite the president's Dec. 23 veto of this bill, Congress is poised to override the veto early next week. Stay tuned...

2020-06-12 10:06:17 -0400

5,000 signatures reached

2020-06-11 14:04:10 -0400

Great news today from the Naval Academy Board of Visitors Chair, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger. Here's an article reporting he wants Navy's buildings named for Confederate leaders to be changed despite the president's recent statement.
“As the new Chairman, the time for discussion is over," he said in the release. "It’s time for action. Midshipmen who have earned the privilege to study in one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions should not have to walk around campus and see buildings named for men who fought to uphold slavery and promote white supremacy.”

2020-06-11 14:01:03 -0400

LOTS of action this week!
On Wednesday, President Trump rebuked Secretary McCarthy and Secretary Esper saying his administration would not rename bases honoring Confederates.

But the Senate voted to strip those names within three years before the end of the day.

2020-06-09 07:36:52 -0400

We are helping the military makes these changes!

June 8, Secretary McCarthy says they're looking for bipartisan engagement to rename Confederate bases.

June 9, Retired General David Petraeus calls for removal of Confederate names on Army bases in The Atlantic:

2020-06-06 06:58:03 -0400

Our companion letter to Congress is out the door. It is going to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees with a copy of our letter to Secretary Esper. Find recipient names and a copy of each letter at

2020-06-05 23:36:22 -0400

"Chatham For All" is officially supporting this effort! CFA is a citizens group in Pittsboro, NC that successfully petitioned Chatham County commissioners for the removal of a 1907 Confederate statue erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Learn about their work here:

2020-06-05 23:33:14 -0400

I'm pleased to report that "Do More Together," West Point's African American alumni group, is officially supporting this effort! Please visit their site and learn about their programs here:

2020-06-04 11:17:57 -0400

Here is our letter forwarding this petition to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Thank you for supporting this effort!

2020-05-27 16:37:49 -0400

1,000 signatures reached

2020-05-24 15:25:22 -0400

Service academy graduates: after signing this petition, please also complete this form used to anonymously report service academy support for removing Confederate symbols.

2020-05-24 10:34:21 -0400

Kudos to the NY Times editorial board for framing these issues so clearly as the nation celebrates Memorial Day. Let's make this the year that Congress passes a Defense spending bill that removes all Confederate memorials and names at the service academies and throughout the military.

2020-05-14 22:35:39 -0400

Part of my letter to the editor re last post:
"The Long Gray Line's legacy is troubling when it comes to graduates like Jefferson Davis. In an 1852 address at the Univ. of Mississippi he criticized abolitionists for failing to adhere to the Constitution and leading an "unholy crusade against the domestic institutions of the south." That philosophy no longer prevails, but its symbolism lives on in American society. Banners and memorials of that era reject Jefferson's equality, Madison's national government, and the Reconstruction era's goal of greater equality under law. Mississippi's flag surely preserves Jefferson Davis's legacy as a Confederate crusader, not a "Duty, Honor, Country" West Point graduate. The greatest legacy of today's graduates would be to speak out against all symbols of white supremacy. It would be a great American story indeed if the Long Gray Line's collective voice could enable the removal of Confederate symbols and promote greater unity at our alma mater."

2020-05-14 22:13:51 -0400

The Mississippi/Confederate flag featured prominently in the photo for the cover story of the Spring 2020 West Point magazine: "Corps 2020: A New Generation Upholds the Legacy of the Long Gray Line."

2020-04-24 16:01:44 -0400

Gen. David Berger shows great leadership with this decision to ban Confederate flags in the Marine Corps. Let's work to expand that voluntary step and make it permanent for all armed services--urge your U.S. Representative to support the removal of all Confederate memorials in the military by co-sponsoring H.R. 4179, "No Federal Funding for Confederate Symbols Act."

2020-04-09 23:03:11 -0400

500 signatures reached

2020-04-08 17:09:18 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-04-08 15:24:00 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-04-07 14:06:16 -0400

The 2017 Annual Report of the West Point Board of Visitors states that in 2016-2017 West Point formulated final reports and recommendations on "Confederate Memorialization" at West Point. The Department of the Army asked the Superintendent for additional study, and no further information is available on the Board of Visitors website.

2020-04-07 13:44:52 -0400

For historical perspective on "The Civil War Today" and Confederate symbols in public spaces, here's a 90-minute video of a February 2020 discussion in Chatham County, NC featuring UNC-Chapel Hill scholars.

2020-04-07 13:01:49 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-04-06 17:50:26 -0400

10 signatures reached