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As New Chairman of the Board, Ruppersberger Calls to Remove Names of Confederates at U.S. Naval Academy

Jun 11, 2020
Press Release
Campus is home to two buildings named after Naval officers who fought for Confederacy

(Washington, DC) – As the newly-elected Chairman of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors, Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) today called for removing the names of two American naval officers who fought for the Confederacy on campus buildings. Ruppersberger said the Pentagon should consider removing Confederate names from all military bases as Americans across the country rise up against decades of racial inequality and police brutality.

The Academy superintendent’s residence – which hosts thousands of visitors from around the world each year – is named after Franklin Buchanan, who left to join the Confederate Navy at the start of the war. The academy’s Weapons and Systems Engineering division is housed in Maury Hall, named after Confederate fighter Matthew Fontaine Maury.

“There has been discussion of renaming these buildings since at least 2017,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “As the new Chairman, the time for discussion is over. It’s time for action. Midshipmen who have earned the privilege to study in one of our nation’s most prestigious institutions should not have to walk around campus and see buildings named for men who fought to uphold slavery and promote white supremacy.”

“This isn’t about erasing history,” he added. “We simply shouldn’t lift up traitors who fought against American values like equality and tolerance.”

Pentagon leaders including the Secretary of Defense have said they are open to removing Confederate names from U.S. bases. Yesterday, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps announced a ban on Confederate battle flags in public spaces and work areas on its bases, ships and aircrafts.

Congressman Ruppersberger will be presenting the issue at the next Naval Academy Board meeting. Should the House Armed Services Committee not address the issue prior, Congressman Ruppersberger, who is a Defense Appropriator, will offer an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2021 requiring the Naval Academy to re-name the two buildings. 

Congressman Ruppersberger has served on the Naval Academy Board since 2009 and was elected chair by his fellow members last month.

“We are working hard to attract minority applicants to our service academies and all of our service branches,” Congressman Ruppersberger said. “We must send a strong and unequivocal message to all potential minority applicants that we stand united in opposing the glorification of leaders who defended slavery.”