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West Point removes Confederate monuments, including Robert E. Lee

West Point has begun removing Confederate monuments at the campus — including a portrait of Robert E. Lee, who once served as the storied military academy’s superintendent, officials said.

Lt. Gen. Steven W. Gilland said the academy will undergo a “multi-phased process” during the holiday break to remove references and installations honoring the Confederacy.

The scrub will include taking down a portrait of Lee dressed in his Confederate uniform from the West Point library, where it’s hung since the 1950s — along with removing the stone bust of the Civil War’s top southern general at Reconciliation Plaza, and his quote about honor from the academy’s Honor Plaza.

The purge is part of a Department of Defense October directive ordering the academy to address racial injustice and do away with installations that “commemorate or memorialize the Confederacy.”

“During the holiday break, we will begin a multi-phased process, in accordance with Department of Defense (DoD) directives, to remove, rename or modify assets and real property at the United States Military Academy (USMA) and West Point installation that commemorate or memorialize the Confederacy or those who voluntarily served with the Confederacy,” Gilland wrote.

This photo provided by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York shows the three bronze panels at one of the entrances to Bartlett Hall, at West Point, that depicts the history of the United States
A trio of bronze panels that depict events in US history will also be taken down.

The Military Academy at West Point, New York.
The Confederate purge at West Point is a Department of Defense order.


Robert E. Lee portrait
Robert E. Lee, a top Confederate general during the Civil War, once served as West Point’s superintendent.


Also set for removal is a trio of bronze panels that depict some important events and figures in US history — including Ben Franklin and Clara Barton — as well as Lee and other Confederate figures, and a hooded figure with the words “Ku Klux Klan” written below.

The items will be placed in storage, the general said.

The changes come after demands to remove Confederate statues following George Floyd’s killing by police in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020.

Gilland said a team of experts and partners have for the past several weeks developed a plan to meet the recommendations from the Congressional Naming Commission, under DoD directives.

Also, West Point’s Memorialization, History, and Museum Committee will propose new names for streets, buildings and areas at the academy named for those who served in the Confederacy.

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

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