West Point Academy Removes Portraits of Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Other Confederate Symbols From Campus

The grounds of United States Military Academy West Point.The grounds of United States Military Academy West Point.
The grounds of United States Military Academy West Point.Getty

The removal of these items comes as part of a "multi-phase" project to remove Confederate symbols from the oldest military academy in the U.S.

Say goodbye to all Confederate symbols, statues and relics at America’s oldest military academy. The United States Military Academy at West Point has begun a “multi-phased” project over the school’s winter break to remove, rename and modify all tributes to the Confederacy.

Some of the items removed include portraits of Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant in Confederate uniform, stone busts of Lee and Grant, and a bronze triptych, West Point’s Superintendent Lieutenant General Steve Gilland said in a press release.

The bronze triptych, once appearing at the main entrance of Bartlett Hall Science Center, features an image of a hooded figure with the words “Ku Klux Klan,” CBS News reported. It will now be placed in storage “until a more suitable location is determined,” the statement said.

The school also intends on replacing a quote by Lee that is on display, and eventually change the names of the streets and buildings across their campus named after Confederate figures.

“We will conduct these actions with dignity and respect,” Gilland said in the statement. “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.”

The changes at West Point come following a federal order approved by the Department of Defense in October and in light of a nation-wide movement in reviewing and removing Confederate symbology.

Last year, Congress put together a federally-mandated panel called the Naming Commission to issue recommendations related to the removal of Confederate symbols and renaming buildings.

The recommendations were aimed at both West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the report that was completed over the summer mentioned specifically there was no intention of "erasing history."

"The facts of the past remain and the commissioners are confident the history of the Civil War will continue to be taught at all service academies with all the quality and complex detail our national past deserves," the report reads.

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