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As I read about Braxton Bragg, for whom Fort Braggs (in both California and North Carolina) are named I become more and more dismayed.
As someone born into a slave holding family in North Carolina, Bragg enjoyed and benefited from slave labor all his life and never said a single word against this unjust system. When he went off to West Point, a slave accompanied him for personal service. When he took up a military command and fought in the Mexican War a slave was forced into labor for him.
After the Mexican War he married the heiress to a wealthy slave owning family in Louisiana. He and this wife named their 1600 acre plantation Bivouac and joined “the elite ranks of the slave owning aristocracy.” They worked 105 enslaved Black men, women and children on their estate for their personal economic advancement earning “a net profit of $30,000” in 1859. He defended his use of slave labor thusly: “We have a large class in subordination – just and necessary…”
Joining the secession of southern states Bragg rejoined the Army as a Major General and said of secession: “Our course is just and we must triumph.”
(All quotes are from the book Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man in the Confederacy by Earl J. Hess.)
It seems to me absurd that our town honors a slaver and traitor by bearing his name. He never set foot on the Mendocino Coast and was, by all accounts, a terrible bungler as a General. as well as a raging alcoholic.
Soon the Department of Defense will order the renaming of the military base, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. We will be the last place in the country named for Braxton Bragg.
Two years ago Confederate Corners, California renamed itself Springtown. We are now the last place in California bearing a Confederate name.
Renaming Fort Bragg, CA. has nothing to do with being “woke” or being a “snow flake” or, God help us, being a “socialist.” It has to do with cutting ties to a racist past that enslaved Black people and building a future that includes all Americans. And it’s about time.