A commemoration of white supremacy has been found hiding in plain sight on a prestigious Hudson Valley campus.

The shocking discovery was uncovered during an audit of memorials and statues. While the school claims there's a good reason for the memorial, images of a plaque depicting a hooded man holding a shotgun over the words "Ku Klux Klan" has many people horrified.

The plaque is part of a trio of images that are titled "History of the United States of America" that is currently on display at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The artwork can be found at the entrance to the Bartlett Hall Science Center.

The Naming Commission
The Naming Commission
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It seems indefensible to have a plaque of the KKK greeting students at the prestigious military academy, but the school says it's something they know about and claim there is an explanation.

The plaque is part of a three-panel piece of art that is dedicated to West Point graduates who served in World War II and the Korean War. A representative from the military academy told The New York Times that the panels also include "individuals who were instrumental in shaping principal events of that time." They specifically point to images of Red Cross founder Clara Barton, Francis Scott Key and abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

Some say that explanation only appears to make things worse, suggesting the artwork is sending a message that the KKK deserves to be commemorated for their contribution to the country alongside these other noted historical figures. The panels were erected in 1965 when many Black people in the south were still unable to exercise the right to vote in elections. Groups like the KKK were still considered the mainstream in many parts of the country when the artist decided to add them to this wall commemorating the history of the United States.

USMA Library Digital Collection
USMA Library Digital Collection
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The Naming Commission, which uncovered the plaque, says they are unable to recommend removing the panel because it falls outside the scope of its investigation. The commission did uncover several campus landmarks that were named for Confederate soldiers and glorified their service against the country during the Civil War. Those street names, building names, plaques and other memorials are all expected to be removed.

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28 Distinguished Historic Figures Buried at West Point Cemetery

New York State is rich in history. West Point Cemetery acts as a national historic landmark and the final resting place for 28 historic figures. From Medal of Honor recipients and Military leaders to astronauts and other Military heroes, their final resting place can be found right here in the Hudson Valley.

 

 

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