Fort Bragg, one of the largest military bases in the country, officially became Fort Liberty on Friday, the first of nine military bases in the South that will ditch their confederate namesakes.
The renaming effort got underway after the murder of George Floyd sparked a reassessment of and backlash against the country’s memorials to the Confederacy. Congress passed a requirement to rename the bases, part of a larger defense bill, overriding the veto of then-President Donald Trump.
The Biden administration has approved new names for the bases. A commission is also tasked with renaming other military assets such as buildings, ships, and streets. All nine bases were built in former Confederate states during the Jim Crow era. According to the Washington Post, Fort Bragg was named in honor of 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.”
Fort Liberty is the only one of the nine bases renamed for an idea. The others will take on the names of individuals, including women and people of color. Virginia’s Fort A.P. Hill, named for a Confederate general, will be renamed in honor of Mary Edwards Walker, an abolitionist and suffragist, and the first female surgeon during the Civil War. Fort Lee, named for Confederate Army commander Robert E. Lee, will become Fort Gregg-Adams, named for two Black officers. Arthur J. Gregg joined a segregated army during Jim Crow and rose to became a three-star general. He is still alive today at 95. Charity Adams led the first unit of Black women on an overseas tour during World War II.