Capitol Alert

California black lawmakers urge Fort Bragg name change

Main Street in Fort Bragg on April 16, 2008.
Main Street in Fort Bragg on April 16, 2008. The Sacramento Bee file

The California Legislative Black Caucus has joined the nascent campaign to rename the small coastal community of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County.

In a letter Thursday, eight members of the caucus urged Mayor Dave Turner to “engage your community in a serious re-examination of the historical implications of your city’s name and come to the conclusion that now is the time to end your ties to such a disgraced and treasonous figure in our nation’s history.”

Fort Bragg was originally a 19th-century Army outpost named for officer Braxton Bragg, who later became a high-ranking general and adviser to Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis, as well as the owner of more than 100 slaves.

Questions over whether the town would be forced to rebrand itself recently emerged after the introduction of Senate Bill 539, which would prohibit public entities in California from bearing the name of Confederate leaders.

Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, amended the bill this week to explicitly exclude cities, but not before asking Fort Bragg officials to consider a voluntary name change. So far, residents have expressed little interest in the idea.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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