West Point KKK board called up in Congressional committee report


Generations of future military leaders at the US Military Academy in West Point, New York, have navigated three towering bronze panels outside a science building that chronicles the country’s history. A plaque in the statue depicts the Santa Maria sailing to the New World in 1492, revolutionary colonists declaring independence from England in 1776 and soldiers who fought in World War II during the 1940s.

The students had to stop and approach the lower left of the middle panel to read the three words below a small imitated, armed figure: the Ku Klux Klan.

The bronze Clansman did not escape the notice of the commission tasked with identifying “Confederate assets” at US military installations. Established by Congress last year, naming committee His job is to recommend whether these assets – ships, bases, statues, streets – can be renamed or removed.

This week, the commission released 15 page report About what she found at West Point and the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the second of three she plans to send to Congress. Last month, the committee presented a 103 page report which recommended renaming Nine military installations Honoring Confederate military officers; It plans to submit a third and final report covering the remaining military “assets”.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Military Academy officials noted that the Ku Klux Klan member is a “small section” of a much larger panel titled “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible.” The sculptor, Laura Garden Fraser, who was 76 when she died in 1966, “wanted to create art depicting ‘historical events or people’ that symbolized the tentative events of the time, thus documenting the tragedy and triumph in our nation’s history.”

The Military Academy statement adds: “Among many other symbols, the triptych also includes individuals who played an instrumental role in shaping key events at the time, and symbols such as the ‘Tree of Life’ depicting how our nation prospered despite its tragedies.”

The murder of George Floyd, the black man who was murdered by a white police officer in May 2020, has fueled anger over the Confederate monuments in the United States. Those discussions renewed calls for renaming military bases and removing other honors from the Confederates. It was the naming committee Created in January 2021 As part of that year’s defense authorization bill, which required new names for the Army’s nine facilities within three years.

The commission says the rules called Confederates should honor women and minorities instead

In its new report, the commission said it did not have the authority to recommend the removal of Clansman from the larger statue at West Point, as it is not a Confederate monument per se, though it noted that “there are clear links in the KKK to the Confederacy.” Committee members urged the Secretary of Defense to deal With “military assets that highlight the KKK”.

According to its report, the commission found 11 Confederate ceremonies at West Point, including four separatists featured in the same bronze slabs of KKK member – General Robert E. Lee, Major General J.E.B. Stewart, Lt. General Stonewall Jackson and Navy Cmdr. John Brock. It recommended renaming or removing all 11, which the Army estimated would cost $422,000.

A West Point spokeswoman said New York times The Academy, along with the Army and Defense Department, will review the committee’s recommendations.

a trip bronze sculpture to West Point in 1951 when the brig started. General Lee Shek, a former science professor at the academy, visited Fraser’s studio. There, note one of her unfinished works depicting several watershed moments in American history through a bronze sculpture in relief. Sculptors use this technique – as seen on American coins – to make their subjects appear elevated from a sculpted background.

“He was touched by her beauty and impressed by the artistic concept of a history icon,” according to Military College Guide Freezer artwork.

Later, when the Military Academy was designing its new library, Chic remembered Fraser’s sculpture. He persuaded the West Point supervisor to agree to commission Fraser to construct three panels 11 feet high and 4 feet wide.

Fraser said she was inspired to tell the history of the United States and the US military because, since 1935, “it has been rare to see anyone with real knowledge of American history or an appreciation for our heritage.”

Fraser considered herself among the ignorant, realizing “a train of thought had begun to become a dominant force.” I began to study history intensively. During her research, she made small clay drawings of the people and events she was learning about. In the end, it grew “so many, like the leaves of an unbound book, that I carved them on large backboards.”

The end result: the official dedication of the 1965 West Point statue.

West Point created a contemporary guide to Fraser’s creation, which notes that “the central part of the painting depicts in allegorical and allegorical forms the major events of the period and the characters associated with them.”

“In this regard, it should be noted that when historical figures are presented, it is not intended to memorialize these individuals but rather as representative of their era,” the guide states.

The guide includes Fraser’s notes about the people and events she carved. By noting the KKK’s history of lynching and black terror in order to entrench segregation and spread white supremacy in Jim Crow South, she made clear that her portrayal was not a memorial.

She wrote: “The Ku Klux Klan – an organization of whites who hid their criminal activity behind a mask and sheet.”

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