|The blue logo on the right represents Confederate general JEB Stuart.|
Their petition on Change.org has so far generated more than 30,700 signatures. They charge that naming the school for JEB Stuart, a Confederate general “who fought to keep African Americans enslaved” is no longer appropriate. Two other similar petitions were issued this summer by Stuart students, alumni, and local residents.
|Julianne Moore appears at an Obama campaign rally in Alexandria in 2012.|
Moore won an Oscar this year for “Still Alice” and has been nominated for an Oscar four other times, for “The End of the Affair (1999), “Far from Heaven” (2002), “Boogie Nights” (1997), and “The Hours (2002). She attended Stuart in 1975-77 when she was known as Julie Ann Smith. Her father was in the U.S. Army, and her family was relocated to Germany before she graduated.
Moore and Cohen have been friends since the eighth grade. Cohen, a 1979 graduate of Stuart, won the Best Picture Oscar for producing “American Beauty” in 1999 and was nominated for Oscars for producing “Milk” (2008) and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012).
“When we were at JEB Stuart in the late 70s, the school symbol was Stuart riding a horse and waving the Confederate flag,” states the Moore-Cohen petition. “The Confederate flag was at the center of our basketball court and on our athletic letter jackets and wasn’t removed until 2001 – but the symbol of Stuart on a horse waving a flag (now solid blue) remains.”
“No one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended and the history of racism it represents, as we and so many alumni of Stuart have felt the need to do our whole lives,” the petition continues.
The school was named for Stuart in 1959 during a time when many school officials in Virginia were embroiled in the “massive resistance” movement in opposition to the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling that ended the segregation of public schools.
Thurgood Marshall argued the Brown case and later became the first African American Supreme Court Justice. For many years he lived in Lake Barcroft, which is in the Stuart attendance area.