February 20, 2024

Navy renames warship after Black sailor, statesman

2 min read

By: US.Crime Online

The Navy has renamed a battleship in honor of a black sailor and statesman who was born into slavery, as part of the ongoing effort by the US military to get rid of names that honor the Confederacy.

The Navy stated in a news release on Monday that the guided missile destroyer USS Chancellorsville’s name has been changed to USS Robert Smalls in honor of the Confederate Civil War triumph.

Smalls, a Confederate soldier who was born in South Carolina in 1839, served on the steamer Planter at Charleston during the Civil War. On May 13, 1862, Smalls steered the ship out of Charleston Harbor while carrying his family, extra slaves, and war supplies. He then turned the ship over to the US Navy. He eventually rose to the position of captain of the Planter.

As a supporter of black Americans, Smalls led one of the first significant boycotts of segregated transportation. Smalls was appointed a brigadier general of the state militia and elected to the South Carolina legislature during the Civil War. After that, he spent five terms in the US House of Representatives.

Robert Smalls is a person who merits a namesake ship, and with this renaming, his story will continue to be retold and honored, according to Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro. The statement claims that the renaming of these assets “is not about rewriting history, but rather to divert attention from the parts of our history that don’t align with the ideals of this nation and instead allows us to spotlight the events and people in history that may have been forgotten.”

A ship in Carrier Strike Group 5 currently based in Yokosuka, Japan, is the USS Robert Smalls.

Before deciding to rename the ship, The Name Commission—a body that Congress created as part of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act—examined the names of more than 750 bases, installations, buildings, and other structures to determine whether they bore homage to the Confederacy.

In addition to directing the military to rename nine outposts, including significant facilities like Fort Bragg and Fort Hood, the commission also suggested the Navy change the names of two ships, the USS Chancellorsville and the USNS Maury. In honor of Captain Matthew Fontaine Maury, who left the US Navy to join the Confederate Army, the latter was given that name.

According to the Navy, there will be “minimal impact” on crew and operations as the renaming process moves forward.

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