J.E.B. Stuart Displaced by President Barack Obama

Those of you living in Richmond, Virginia and surrounding communities may have heard a small explosion this morning. That was the sound of the neo-Confederate community waking up to learn that the Richmond school board voted to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to honor President Barack Obama.

Why it is significant can be explained in a simple tweet:

Regardless of the outrage that will be expressed over the decision to honor the former president, this fact is undeniable. At some point in the relatively near future not a single school in Virginia will honor a Confederate general or leader.

11 thoughts on “J.E.B. Stuart Displaced by President Barack Obama

  1. Randolph Watkins

    There wasn’t an explosion since a name change was expected. Many of us were disappointed that Oliver Hill or another Virginian with ties to Virginia and the civil rights movement weren’t chosen.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Oliver Hill would have been an excellent choice for the reason you mentioned. It is unfortunate that he is not more widely acknowledged for the important work he did during the civil rights era. Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
    2. Andy Hall

      That would seem like a better choice to me, too. My district has long had a policy that requires new schools or facilities to be named for persons who made a particularly significant contribution to public education in the community. That seems like the way to go, really.

      Reply
      1. James Harrigan

        My district has long had a policy that requires new schools or facilities to be named for persons who made a particularly significant contribution to public education in the community.
        What a great idea! More schools named after locally beloved teachers, and fewer named after national figures with no local connection, please.

        Reply
  2. Julie Markovitz

    Here in Roanoke, we are waiting for Stonewall Jackson Middle School to fall. Nearly half the students there are Black or brown. This is a work in progress but looking promising.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin Post author

      Just for the record, this shouldn’t be about the percentage of students that are black or other minority status. No student should have to attend a school named after people who fought for or led a nation whose purpose was to advance chattel slavery.

      Reply
      1. James Harrigan

        agreed, Kevin. It is particularly egregious when black kids have to attend a school named after a Confederate, but you’ll know we’re making progress as a country when enough white parents don’t want their kids attending such-named schools.

        Which makes me wonder: are there any cases where majority white schools have jettisoned a Confederate moniker?

        Reply
  3. Diane Hyra

    Other suggestions with Virginia ties would have been Barbara Johns Elementary School or even Tim Kaine Elementary. I would have preferred Barbara Johns — a school named in honor of a student could have been empowering to the children attending it.

    Reply
  4. London John

    Just as a matter of interest, are there any schools or other public institutions in Virginia named after virginian Union generals, such as Winfield Scott or George Thomas?

    Reply

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