‘We just feel it’: Racism plagues US military academies

  • Retired Army Capt. Geoffrey Easterling is photographed at his home in Atlanta, on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Eight years after he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Easterling remains astonished by the Confederate history still memorialized on the storied academy’s campus. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

  • Curtis Harris, a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, poses for photos, in New York's Central Park, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. West Point remains a point of pride for Harris, who visits high schools and junior high schools to encourage candidates of diverse backgrounds to apply. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Curtis Harris, center, is shown in this photo of Company A-2, from the 1978 "Howitzer" yearbook of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. West Point remains a point of pride for Harris, who hasn’t missed an Army-Navy football game in 40 years. He visits high schools and junior high schools to encourage candidates of diverse backgrounds to apply. (U.S. Military Academy photo via AP)

  • Curtis Harris, left center, is shown in this photo of Company A-2, from the 1978 "Howitzer" yearbook of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. West Point remains a point of pride for Harris who helps review applications for nominations for U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat of New York. He also visits high schools and junior high schools to encourage candidates of diverse backgrounds to apply. (U.S. Military Academy photo via AP)

  • A painting of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is displayed at West Point Museum, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in West Point, N.Y. The tributes to Lee on the West Point campus illustrate the academy’s dichotomy: The cadets who study military history are taught that Confederate soldiers were no heroes, yet the references to Lee who graduated from West Point remain. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

  • FILE - United States Military Academy graduating cadets sit during their graduation ceremony of the U.S. Military Academy class 2021 at Michie Stadium on Saturday, May 22, 2021, in West Point, N.Y. The U.S. military academies provide a key pipeline into the leadership of the armed services and have welcomed more racially diverse students. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

  • FILE - Lee Barracks is shown at the U.S. Military Academy, on Monday, July 13, 2020, in West Point, N.Y. The building is named for Civil War General Robert E. Lee, a West Point graduate who led the Confederate Army. The tributes to Lee that still dot the West Point campus illustrate the academy’s dichotomy: The cadets who study military history are taught that Confederate soldiers were no heroes, yet the references to Lee remain. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

  • Kyle Bibby in May, 2007, at his U.S. Naval Academy graduation. Bibby, co-founded the Black Veterans Project, which advocates for racial justice in the armed services. (U.S. Naval Academy photo via AP)

  • Kyle Bibby poses for a picture near his home in Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Bibby, a Naval Academy graduate who served for six years in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, said those who characterize white supremacism only as extreme behavior miss the insidious damage that casual racism and discriminatory attitudes can inflict. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Carlton Shelley II poses for a picture at his home in West Orange, N.J., Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. Shelley was recruited to play football for West Point from high school and entered the academy in 2009. On the field, he described the team as “a brotherhood,” where his skin color never impacted how he was treated, though off the field, he said, he and other Black classmates too often were treated like the stereotype of the angry Black man. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Cadets attend the NCAA college football game between the Army Black Knights and Massachusetts at Michie Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in West Point, N.Y. The U.S. military academies provide a key pipeline into the leadership of the armed services and have welcomed more racially diverse students each year for the better part of the last decade. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

  • Cadets salute during the National Anthem prior to the NCAA college football game between the Army Black Knights and Massachusetts at Michie Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in West Point, N.Y. The U.S. military academies provide a key pipeline into the leadership of the armed services and have welcomed more racially diverse students each year for the better part of the last decade. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

  • Junior ROTC instructor Cardelle Anthony Hopkins poses for a photo in his one in Riverview, Fla., March 1, 2021. Hopkins said little was done after one of his students at Lake Brantley High School in Florida alerted him to social media posts by her fellow cadets making racist comments about Hopkins, a retired Black master sergeant. (AP Photo/Noreen Nasir)

  • West Point cadets celebrate after graduation ceremonies at the United States Military Academy, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in West Point, N.Y. The U.S. military academies provide a key pipeline into the leadership of the armed services and have welcomed more racially diverse students each year for the better part of the last decade. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

  • Carlton Shelley II, center, is seen in this photo of the graduating class of 2013 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Shelley was recruited to play football for West Point from his Sarasota, Fla., high school and entered the academy in 2009. (U.S. Military Academy via AP)

  • Carlton Shelley II, center, is seen in this photo of the graduating class of 2013 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Shelley was recruited to play football for West Point from his Sarasota, Fla., high school and entered the academy in 2009. (U.S. Military Academy via AP)

Eight years after he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Geoffrey Easterling remains astonished by the Confederate history still memorialized on the storied academy’s campus – the six-foot-tall painting of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the library, the barracks dormitory named for Lee and the Lee Gate on Lee Road.