scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Righting an egregious wrong, one Army base at a time

This is an excerpt from Outtakes, a Globe Opinion newsletter from columnist Renée Graham. Sign up to get this in your inbox a day early.
* indicates required

Fort Bragg is now Fort Liberty. Fort Lee is Fort Gregg-Adams. Fort Pickett is Fort Barfoot. Fort Benning is Fort Moore. Fort Rucker is Fort Novosel. Fort Hood is Fort Cavazos.

On this nation’s US Army bases, the names of American heroes and trailblazers are finally replacing those of history’s treasonous losers — Confederate generals.

”No longer do we honor traitors for slavery who killed US Army soldiers,” retired Brigadier General Ty Seidule, deputy chair of the Army’s Naming Commission, told the Army Times.

In the coming months, the final Army bases with Confederate names will be changed — Fort Polk will become Fort Johnson; Fort Gordon to Fort Eisenhower; and Fort A.P. Hill shall be known as Fort Walker.


Among those honored are Lieutenant General Arthur Gregg, the Army’s first Black three-star general; Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams Earley, the highest ranking Black woman during World War II, who led the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion — known as the Six Triple Eight — the only all-Black, all-female unit to serve overseas during the war; and General Richard Cavazos, a two-time recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross for leadership under fire and the Army’s first Latino four-star general.

Retired Lieutenant General Arthur Gregg and the late Lieutenant Colonel Charity Adams Earley depicted in an image from the Naming Commission, which selected their names as the replacement for Fort Lee in Virginia.Renée Graham

Fort Moore is named not only for Lieutenant General Hal Moore, who led the first large-scale battle between US troops and the North Vietnamese army in 1965, but also his wife, Julia Moore, who spurred the modernization of the Army’s once-impersonal system for contacting families of fallen soldiers.

Of course, there are complaints that changing base names is tantamount to erasing history. But in fact, those original namings attempted to rewrite history. They gave permanent places of honor to traitors and anointed them with the valor they abandoned when they took up arms against their own country.


“Some Army bases, established in the build-up and during World War I, were named for Confederate officers in an effort to court support from local populations in the South,” according to a Department of Defense report. The Civil War had ended less than 60 years earlier — meaning there were still Black people among those populations forced to witness the sickening veneration of those men who fought to keep them enslaved. Along with all those Confederate statues and monuments, elevating these disgraceful men despite — or, perhaps because of —their seditious service contributed to the pernicious “Lost Cause” hagiography that persists to this day.

“The battles that [Robert E.] Lee fought in will still be studied, so we are not erasing history,” retired Lieutenant General Tom Bostick, a Naming Commission member, recently told CBS News. “What we are doing is commemorating the right leaders.”

Overdue? Of course. Symbolic? Absolutely. But as Lizzo once sang, it’s about damn time.

Renée Graham is a Globe columnist. She can be reached at Follow her @reneeygraham.