Recent activism targeting the removal of Confederate symbols is one small part of a great American awakening long overdue. There aren’t many Confederate symbols in Utah (except those publicly displayed by private citizens). Even so, there is one change that needs to happen in our state: Fort Douglas.
The old fort is the namesake of Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, former judge, U.S. senator and candidate for president. He was Abraham Lincoln’s political rival for the U.S. Senate and one of the most powerful politicians of the mid-19th century. He was not a Confederate. He opposed secession, and spent his career working to keep the American Union together.
However, he did this by appeasement of slavery. He was an ally of Jefferson Davis, supporting the annexation of Texas and the expansionist war with Mexico. He drafted the Kansas-Nebraska Act that opened the western territories to slavery and led to “Bleeding Kansas,” the prelude to the Civil War.
Fort Douglas needs a new name, one that reflects the changes needed in our country. I think “Fort Harriet Tubman” sounds perfect.
Eric Rickart, Salt Lake City