California City Keeps Name of Confederate General

Fort Bragg officials debated for a year
By Stephanie Mojica,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2022 9:05 AM CST
California City Keeps Name of Confederate General
Fort Bragg, Calif. will keep its controversial name after a year of debate, the Guardian reports. The city is named after a Confederate general.   (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(Newser) – After George Floyd’s murder in 2020, a commission of citizens of Fort Bragg, Calif., examined whether they should change the name of the city named after a Confederate general. That won't be happening, for now at least, the Guardian reports. The city of 7,000 was named after Confederate army general and slave owner Braxton Bragg in 1857; he never visited the northern California coastal town that now shares his name, per the Press Democrat. The citizen commission, which originally had 18 members but ended up with 10, couldn't land on a unanimous decision. KSRO reports the closest it came was a 6-4 vote in support of the city being renamed "sometime in the not-too-distant future."

"Because the citizens are so divided, this commission cannot unanimously recommend a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the question of changing the name," commission member Cesar Yanez told the city council on Monday. What that division looks like: The commission distributed a survey to which 1,649 responded, with 56% saying no, 32.5% yes, and 11.5% unsure. One commissioner pointed out that the survey was limited to people who read Facebook posts, mailed water bills, city council emails, or local newspaper announcements and that it was possible people from outside the city had responded or city residents voted multiple times.

"We did our best, and that’s what we got," commissioner Christie Olson Day said. The sole black member of the commission had a more unequivocal response: "I firmly believe it should be changed," Marshall Carr Jr. said. One commission member suggested that making it clear the town is not honoring Bragg himself is perhaps the best option. Nicki Caito-Urbani also pointed out the cost to the city and private businesses of rebranding their existing physical and digital assets if the name "Fort Bragg" must be removed. Stars & Stripes reports Fort Bragg in North Carolina is expected to be identified as needing a name change by a commission set up by Congress that is examining Confederate-related names across the military. (Read more Fort Bragg stories.)

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