A panel is expected to hand the final death blow to an iconic portrait of former U.S. and Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has stood in West Point for more than 70 years, Politico reported Friday.
The Naming Commission, authorized under last year’s defense bill to facilitate the removal of Confederate iconography, is anticipated to recommend against housing the giant 20-foot portrait of Lee in his gray Confederate uniform, multiple sources told the outlet.
Two other portraits of Lee, one depicting him as West Point superintendent and another in his blue U.S. military uniform, are reportedly more up in the air.
The commission will submit its final recommendations in a written report to the House and Senate by October 1. However, Congress and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin must first approve the recommendations in order for them to be official.
Last month, the group released several suggestions to rename nine Army bases that honor Confederate leaders. Austin congratulated the commission’s progress at the time.
In a May 24 statement Austin wrote, “Today’s announcement highlights the Commission’s efforts to propose nine new installation names that reflect the courage, values, sacrifices, and diversity of our military men and women.”
Austin added, “I thank the members of the Commission for their important, collaborative work with base commanders, local community leaders, Soldiers, and military families. And I look forward to seeing their complete report later this year.”
The suggestion by the Naming Commission follows a slew of anti-Confederate gestures pushed after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin in summer 2020.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 157 Confederate memorials were removed in 2020 following the incident, the most ever in a single year. In fact, it was over 16% of total confederate monuments in the U.S.
A year later, another 73 monuments were reportedly removed, representing another more than 9% removed. This leaves an estimated 723 confederate monuments left in the U.S.