Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the United States, has officially been renamed Fort Liberty. In an effort to become inclusive and welcoming to all servicemen, the U.S. Army is taking steps to rename military bases, ships, and streets that previously were named after Confederate soldiers.
Fort Liberty, and eight other army posts that were selected to be renamed, were all built during the first half of the 20th century in former Confederate states.
Originally, Fort Bragg had been named in after Braxton Bragg, a Confederate general who was relieved of command after losing the battle for Chattanooga in 1863, though he remained active in the rebel cause, serving as an adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, according to The Washington Post.
“Welcome to Fort Liberty, the center of the universe,” Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, the commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty, stated during the ceremony last Friday. “We were given a mission to re-designate our installation, no small task with its history. We seized this opportunity to make ourselves better and to seek excellence. That is what we always have done and always will do.”
Fort Liberty’s change is the most prominent in a years-long Department of Defense plan that was sparked by the nation’s reckoning during the 2020 George Floyd protests.
“Fayetteville in 1775 signed one of the first accords declaring our willingness to fight for liberty and freedom from Great Britain,” stated Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue. “Liberty has always been ingrained in this area.”
The other eight Army bases selected to be renamed are Fort Benning and Fort Gordon in Georgia; Fort A.P. Hill, Fort Lee and Fort Pickett in Virginia; Fort Polk in Louisiana; Fort Rucker in Alabama; and Fort Hood in Texas, according to The Washington Post.
Despite the military taking steps towards inclusivity for all servicemen, Republican leaders are attempting to erase this effort.
During last week’s Republican Party Convention, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vowed to drop the recent change and go back to the former Confederate name, Bragg, who was known for owning enslaved people. Mike Pence also vowed to remove the name “Liberty” and replace it once again – calling the effort to rename bases, “political correctness”.
“Not celebrating an enslaver is ‘political correctness’?” tweeted Darren Hutchinson, a professor at Emory School of Law. “Nope. It’s being an informed and respectful citizen.”
Read more at The Washington Post.