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Meeks Passes Amendment Prohibiting Naming of DOD Assets After Confederacy

July 11, 2019

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks successfully passed an amendment to H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act, that would prohibit the Secretary for the Department of Defense (DOD) from naming DOD assets after someone who served or held a leadership position in the Confederacy, or after a city or battlefield made significant because of a Confederate victory. He released the following statement after the amendment's passage:

"The ten military bases and Navy ships still bearing the name of Confederate leaders and battles are a reminder of how the Confederacy remains enshrined and indeed glorified in our armed services; glorifying a war fought over the institution of slavery, and revering those who fought for its preservation. They are like the many confederate monuments erected not immediately after the Civil War, but in the decades following, in the 1900's during the height of Jim Crow and public lynchings, and during the civil rights movement of the 60's.

"These odes to the Confederacy are symbols for a time of racial subjugation and state-sanctioned segregation, used to legitimize racism and the institutional segregation of African Americans. It is why neo-Nazis and white supremacists signal to each other using Confederate imagery, and why they flocked to a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charleston Virginia with torches in hand. They are tools of oppression, and effigies of enslavement.

"To those who would say that the Confederacy was a part of our history and that this amendment seeks to erase that checkered history, I say this: The naming of navy vessels and army bases is not how we record history; they are how we revere it. And revering the Confederacy is precisely what bleaches the historical context of the civil war, of why arms were raised, and why blood was shed.

"We cannot mend the wounds of our Union if we continue to extol the causes of its rupture. Though no one is responsible for the sins of their fathers, we are responsible for the images we display to our sons and to our daughters."