NY lawmakers urge Pentagon to rename Fort Hamilton streets honoring Confederate generals
By CHRIS SOMMERFELDT | New York Daily News | Published: June 11, 2020
NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — Two New York City lawmakers called on Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Thursday to rename a couple of streets at a Brooklyn military base that honor Confederate generals — but President Trump is likely to stand in the way.
In a letter to Esper, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News, Reps. Max Rose (D-NY) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) said the streets at the U.S. Army base in Fort Hamilton — Stonewall Jackson Drive and General Lee Avenue — are symbols of hate and oppression.
“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,” the Democratic pols wrote. “American service members 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."
Rose, a U.S. Army veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and Clarke suggested Esper rename the streets after any of the “African-American heroes, including many brave Brooklynites, who fought in the service of our country.”
“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,” they wrote.
A spokesman for Esper could not immediately be reached for comment, but if Trump’s allowed any say on the matter, the controversial street names are likely to remain.
On Wednesday, Trump said he won’t entertain mounting calls for renaming a number of military bases across the U.S. named after Confederate figures, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas.
“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage and a history of Winning, Victory and Freedom,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Therefore, my administration will not consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations."
Trump’s tweet came after the U.S. Army had signaled it would be open to discussing renaming military bases honoring Confederate generals.