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Clarke, Rose Push for Ft. Hamilton Streets to be Renamed from Confederate Generals

Congressmembers call for Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue to be renamed to honor of African American soldiers who bravely fought for the United States of America

BROOKLYN, NY – Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke and Congressman Max Rose, an Army combat veteran, today called for the Secretary of Defense to rename two streets at Fort Hamilton, a U.S. Army base in Brooklyn, named after Confederate generals: Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue. Clarke and Rose’s push follows comments this week both by the Secretary of the Army that they are open to renaming bases named for Confederate leaders, as well as President Trump who tweeted his opposition.

“We write to urge you to rename two streets located at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn that are currently named after generals of the Confederate States of America, Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue,” wrote Rose and Clarke in a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. “We swore an oath as public officials to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,’ and to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’ While we were encouraged by news this week that the Army might consider renaming military installations named after Confederate generals, men who violated that oath to our country, we are similarly disturbed by recent social media posts suggesting that these names are part of a ‘Great American Heritage’ and are ‘Hallowed Ground.’ Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg are hallowed ground, places where Americans gave their lives to end the practice of slavery in our country; bases named after men who sought to keep their fellow men and women in bondage are not. We hope that you will act swiftly to rename the streets in Fort Hamilton and all places named after Confederate figures.”

Full text of letter HERE and below:

Dear Secretary Esper,

We write to urge you to rename two streets located at Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn that are currently named after generals of the Confederate States of America, Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue.

We swore an oath as public officials to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and to “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.” While we were encouraged by news this week that the Army might consider renaming military installations named after Confederate generals, men who violated that oath to our country, we are similarly disturbed by recent social media posts suggesting that these names are part of a “Great American Heritage” and are “Hallowed Ground.” Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg are hallowed ground, places where Americans gave their lives to end the practice of slavery in our country; bases named after men who sought to keep their fellow men and women in bondage are not. We hope that you will act swiftly to rename the streets in Fort Hamilton and all places named after Confederate figures.

It is impossible to disentangle these men’s identities as individuals from the cause they rebelled against our nation to defend. U.S. military bases and property should be named after men and women who’ve served our nation with honor and distinction, not sought to tear it apart to uphold white supremacy. And American servicemembers deserve to serve on bases that honor their ancestor’s contributions to our nation, not those who fought to hold those same ancestors in bondage. Our Armed Forces should not honor men who divided this country in the cause of slavery.

American history provides a proud litany of African American heroes, including many brave Brooklynites, who fought in the service of our country to uphold the core principle of democracy: that all men are created equal. We urge you to consider some of these men and women as suitable replacements for those who fought to uphold the lie that members of the human race are unequal. The streets of Fort Hamilton should be named after brave men and women who fought for our country and its values, not those who opposed them.

Sincerely,

Max Rose

Member of Congress

Yvette D. Clarke

Member of Congress

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