BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Responding to pressure from the Trump Administration, the Army has agreed to shelve plans to rename Fort Slavery Was Cool, an Army post located just outside of Birmingham.
“While the goal of Army leadership was well intentioned,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in a statement, “the fact is that Fort Slavery Was Cool contributed to many successful military operations in American history, such as rounding up Japanese Americans for internment during World War II and serving as a staging area for Homeland Security troops just this past week.”
The small post, which is primarily used by the Army to store ridiculously outdated equipment, originally got its name in the early 1920s, when Army leaders allowed local historians who advocated the Civil War “Lost Cause” narrative to sponsor a write-in contest for suggestions. After several weeks of tallying the results, “Slavery was cool” was the clear winner. Since the 1960s, however, some have suggested the post’s name might possibly be just a skoch racist.
The current post commander, Col. Charles Vance, admitted to being uncomfortable with the name.
“At first, I didn’t even think about it,” said Vance. “I grew up in Montgomery, and it was always there and so kind of normal. But after my first sergeant told me about the history behind ‘Slavery Was Cool,” I was shocked, and can understand why some might feel offended.”
But not all agree with the move to rename the post.
“Nobody is saying that ‘slavery is cool” today, okay” said Gideon Taylor, a spokesman for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce. “Renaming the post would not only be erasing our history by pretending it wasn’t cool in the past, but we’ve got just tons of t-shirts and coffee mugs to sell with the post name on it that would simply go to waste. “
“Besides,” added Taylor, “how are Americans supposed to realize that slavery isn’t cool if we get rid of the history of things saying that slavery was cool?”