On the Relatively Recent Origins of Confederate Names in the United States and the Commission that will Remove Them


A change of responsibility ceremony held at Fort Polk, one of the military complexes that will soon have a new name (Public Domain)

A recent opinion piece in The New York Times explores the relatively recent origins of Confederate names, symbols, and monuments in the United States and the work of the commission established to rename them. Of especial interest to those studying names are the stories behind the new names of military bases and complexes in the US. One, for example, is the new possible namesake of Fort Polk:

“The World War I hero William Henry Johnson, who served in the era of Wilson, received the Medal of Honor he richly deserved nearly a century after his service. By proposing that Fort Polk in Louisiana take Johnson’s name, the commission highlights the extremes to which the Jim Crow-era United States sometimes went to deny even the possibility of African American heroism.”

Read more about William Henry Johnson and other new namesakes over at The New York Times.