A plaque with with a hooded figure and the words "Ku Klux Klan" on it was discovered at the entrance to Bartlett Hall, the science center at the United States Military Academy, West Point, reports CNN. Established in 1965, the plaque was “originally dedicated to West Point graduates who served in World War II and Korea.”
The marker also includes the words Ku Klux Klan as a part of a larger piece of artwork, called a triptych, referring “to the history of the United States as told in bronze relief.” It has three panels, that are each 11 feet by 5 feet. The second panel displays the Ku Klux Klan in a “small section” titled “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible," the Academy’s Public Affairs office said in a statement.
The Congressional Naming Commission, which made the discovery, recently offered recommendations to the Department of Defense on renaming Confederate markers on U.S. military installations. The report focused on Confederate markers at both West Point in New York and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
According to the commission the plaque “falls outside” of its domain, because its primary function is to identify and provide recommendations on new names for Confederate markers at military installations.
“The marker falls outside the remit of the Commission; however, there are clearly ties in the K.K.K. to the Confederacy,” stated the report.
The commission recommended that the Secretary of Defense “address DoD assets that highlight the K.K.K.” and “create a standard disposition requirement for such assets.”
Per the Academy’s Public Affairs office, Laura Gardin Fraser, the triptych’s late sculptor, “wanted to create art that depicted ‘historical incidents or persons’ that symbolized the principled events of that time, thereby documenting both tragedy and triumph in our nation’s history.
“West Point does not accept, condone, or promote racism, sexism, or any other biases. The Academy continues to graduate its most diverse classes ever with respect to ethnicity, gender, experience, and background,” the Public Affairs office said in the statement.
The U.S. Military Academy’s Public Affairs office acknowledged they had received the naming commission’s report and said they are “reviewing the recommendations,” in an earlier statement Wednesday.
“We are reviewing the recommendations and will collaborate with the Department of the Army to implement changes, once approved,” the statement said. “West Point’s mission is to develop leaders of character who internalize Army Values, the ideals of Duty, Honor, Country, and the Army Ethic. As a values-based institution, we are fully committed to creating a climate where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
The removal of Confederate markers and other historic racist images across the country has dramatically increased in recent years. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas are among the states that have removed Confederate monuments and racist structures .