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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Actress Julianne Moore joins effort to rename Stuart HS

The blue logo on the right represents Confederate general JEB Stuart.
The effort to change the name of Stuart High School is gaining momentum as Hollywood  heavyweights, actress Julianne Moore and producer Bruce Cohen, put out a petition calling on the Fairfax County School Board to rename the school for Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Their petition on 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.


  1. I could care less what they name the school, but here is an excellent article on where attention should really be:

    1. Wilkins' column is little more than a rehash of Jessica Swanson's recently failed campaign platform. In particular, Wilkins forgets that the BOS funded over 90% of the school board's budget request. Property taxes have skyrocketed over the last three years and it's unreasonable to expect local taxpayers to pay more.

    2. Oh no, I totally disagree with Anonymous above that it's unreasonable to expect local taxpayers to pay more.

      I think Fairfax County needs to drive up property taxes so high they push out everyone who can't afford million dollar homes (especially the New Americans - both documented and undocumented (must use PC language to protect the eyes of the sensitive readers of this blog), just like the "Little (Snob Central) City" that is Falls Church City.

      This would have the stated intended effect of pumping Fairfax County Public Schools ratings and rankings significantly higher.

      More importantly, it would have the unstated intended effect of driving out over time the Working and Middle Classes and the New Americans.

      I do agree with Anonymous above that this is a rehash of Jessica Swanson's recently rejected by the voters campaign platform.

    3. Wow! Is every post on this blog now going to devolve into an election issue. You forgot to throw in the phrase NIMBY for good measure. The point is there are other issues that would help the community more, than simply changing the name. Let's try to solve those.

    4. Anonymous8/26/15, 1:35 PM

      This is off topic, but here goes anyway. Speaking of "Little Snob Central City", it might be time to consider the viability of utilizing that affluent hamlet as the model for a separate municipality. I was surprised to recently learn that FC City once included East Falls Church and that FC City unsuccessfully attempted to annex some neighboring FC precincts in the 1960s. Once the Seven Corners project is implemented, it won't be long before the surrounding area becomes as densely urbanized as West Arlington and FC City. At that point, consideration should be given to comparing the relative benefits are of staying with FC versus creating a new municipality that more closely reflects the character and requirements of this area. FC is twice as big as any other county in the Commonwealth and needs to shrink. I've been living in Mason for three score years and, in retrospect, I believe that Inner Beltway Fairfax has received short shrift from the BOS during that entire time. Part of that is attributable to inept political leadership in the post-Tom Davis years. However, most of the development has occurred in western Fairfax and that's the area that has and will continue to receive the bulk of funding and attention from the BOS. So, sooner or later, it's going to become necessary to begin a dialogue about whether it's advisable to continue tolerating the status quo. A municipality three or four times the size of current FC could generate enough tax revenue with which to not only sustain itself but also address many of the numerous social and economic issues that the BOS will never consider. So, I believe it's about time local residents considered biting off a big chunk of Inner Beltway Fairfax so they can once and for all get together and run their affairs in a manner that suits their unique interests.

    5. I often wonder if the inner beltway part of Virginia should be one jurisdiction, either a county or city. Such a combined municipality could focus a lot better on it's own development. In fact such a municipality would do a much better at representing it's interests and concerns vis-a-vis other jurisdiction. Not to be antagonistic but instead work with other jurisdictions while making sure we get the focus we need.

      Quick estimates makes me think we would be a large city/county as DC with a lot challenges but also lots promise.

  2. I think changing the name, though symbolic, is a noble goal.

    As to dividing up Fairfax County? Yes, it's time. The issues are sufficiently different in different areas and the area is too big. Montgomery County is the same, but there would be resistance to diluting the clout of a giant area.