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Friday, June 26, 2020

Fairfax County to review Confederate place names

John Marr Drive in Annandale is thought to be named for the first Confederate soldier killed in the Civil War, although there is no evidence that John Marr had a connection to Annandale. 

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on June 23 approved a request by supervisors Dalia Palchik (Providence) and Walter Alcorn (Hunter Mill) to take an inventory of Confederate place names in the county with an eye to considering name changes. 

The BoS agreed to have the History Commission draft a report listing Confederate monuments, street names, RECenters, parks, county buildings, and other county properties. 

“Fairfax County residents stand together with fellow Americans in support of the recent movement for racial justice, brought on by the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others,” states the motion presented by Palchik and Alcorn. 

“This powerful call for equity has brought attention to Confederate monuments and place names throughout the country and the county, and the painful history they symbolize,” the motion states. “Confederate monuments and place names were affirmations of white supremacy under the siren of southern history and tradition, and they go against the goal of a more just, unified county. They do not reflect our community’s values.”


The motion also notes that Confederate places names run counter to the One Fairfax policy, which promotes racial and social equity. 

The report, to be completed by the end of 2020, will include a comprehensive list and history of places in Fairfax County named after individuals who held military or governmental responsibilities under the authority of the Confederate States of America between 1861-1865. It would also identify who is responsible for renaming each place and the legal implications and cost of removal. 

In a related action, the Fairfax County School Board approved a motion June 23 to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield. 

A new name will take effect with the start of the 2020-21 school year. The public is invited to comment on alternative names suggested by Superintendent Scott Brabrand: John Lewis, Barack Obama, Mildred Loving, Cesar Chavez, Legacy, and Central Springfield. 

19 comments:

  1. A Great nation embrace its past,
    learns from its history and move forward with pride.

    A declining nation is taking off statues and changing names of streets in attempt to white-wash things no longer in its control.

    With such a losers approach China and Russia will eat this snowflake country alive.

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    1. What do you mean by "embrace?" If it's the actual definition, then I absolutely 100% refuse to accept or support willingly and enthusiastically a bunch of treasonous a-holes that represent the confederacy. Statues CELEBRATE people. You want to learn from history? visit a battlefield and read a book. Tear them all down. I do not want to embrace the celebration of confederate heroes. People act as though without statues up and about we'll suddenly have an aneurysm and forget the civil war. When's the last time someone learned something VITAL from a damn plaque on a statue. When they start deleting articles from wikipedia, then we can be worried.

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  2. By removing these names, you also obliterate those heroes that fought to save the Union. A nation learns from its past mistakes and these reminders keep us on the course. Plus, just how much will it cost for all the names changes in maps and street signs. When Stuart HS was name-changed, the cost was awful.

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    1. No you don't. We aren't taking down the statues of Union guys. I don't get reminded of crap from a damn statue, and I think 99% of people agree. You want to be reminded? visit a battlefield. Watch a documentary. read a book. visit a war memorial. Statues are useless iron that celebrate a bunch of treasonous jerks.

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    2. If you visit the Gettysburg battlefield, you will find 40 confederate statues. Should those be removed? How about removing all statues of men who treated women poorly? Would any statue remain? Should Michelangelo's David or Pieta be destroyed because they exclude other religions or he had loose morals? Also, if you think Union monuments and/or memorials arent the next target, then you aren't paying attention. Wikipedia entries may not be deleted (yet) but movies and tv episodes are being pulled from streaming services. Societies that destroy works of art they find offensive (Taliban), burn books they don't like (Nazis) or bully society into accepting one singular vision (USSR) have terrible histories. Never thought I'd see this here ...

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    3. Ahhhh the ol’ slippery slope argument. Remove a couple confederate a-hole monuments and the next thing you know we’re burning books like the nazis. Honestly though your thoughts about statues at the battlefield makes me pause though. Somehow I feel like that’s different, they aren’t there to celebrate, just markers of a solemn and grim battle where American blood was shed. I guess it reminds me that all issues are gray, not black and white. I’ll have to think on that.

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    4. The “ol slippery slope argument” is not theoretical because statues of Grant, Shaw (Union leader who led African American Troops), Lincoln, Jefferson and Washington have already been removed or defaced around the country. Say what you want about the confederates and their misguided cause, at least they believed their cause was based in constitutional law and attempted addressing issues prior to violence. No one can say that of the mobs currently ruining these symbols of American history. Granting their demands officially by agreeing to remove certain names and statues only validates their lawless behavior— the same behavior supposedly exhibited by these “loser” and “treasonous” confederates. These actions are not about the confederacy, they are about officially condemning all American history and unintelligently reinterpreting it through a modern context. These local decisions should be made with reason and facts, and shouldn’t react to irresponsible and lawless mob justice— regardless of the cause.

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    5. You continue to shift the narrative from people that are protesting peacefully and legally as well as using the proper means to have statues removed with criminals and looters. This is a great way to create a new straw man and make it harder for me to argue. I'll say again, tear down every and all monuments that enshrine and celebrate the real looters, the confederacy. Reinterpreting American history through a modern context is exactly what America is all about, or we wouldn't have women voting, freed slaves, and a right to buy booze on a sunday. Taking a strategic pause to re-evaluate who we choose to memorialize, even beyond confederate traitors, is a valuable discussion that I support -- even if it means renaming schools, roads, and other landmarks as an acknowledgement of a past built on the backs of the enslaved.

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  3. I am compelled to comment to ensure that there is some variation in comments from the initial two. Re: A Great nation...I disagree with your concept of what makes a great nation. I might argue that a Great nation is one that can look confidently at the mistakes it has made and correct them, rather than blindly insisting that everything it ever did was right. Re: XXX - I don't get which Union heroes we are discussing here, but I am sure you will let me know. The FCPS budget is $3 billion - I believe the final cost for the Justice name change was in the $500K range, so .01 percent of the budget. It seems a very small amount to fix that mistake.

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    1. My concern is definitely the budget. The Justice name change was ONE change. If we are going to take down dozens of statutes, then all of a sudden it's not 0.1 percent, but 2, 5, 10 percent. Is it worth it? I don't know, but as a parent with children in this district, I would prefer they leave the statutes and spend more on the kids' education and school infrastructure. Maybe it's not taking down everything or not doing everything all at once. I don't know the solution, but taking everything down without thinking this through does not seem to me to be the way to go. A process should be established and if this will be done, then do it in a way that makes sense but does not hurt the schools and the kids because of the budget.

      I also agree that statues on a battlefield are different and that this is a really gray area. Careful deliberation and restrained progress should be the goal in my opinion.

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    2. Also a good response 959, makes sense to me

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  4. Waste of time and taxpayers money.

    There are more important issues to address.

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  5. Great! Get rid of all monuments to traitors, losers, and racists!

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  6. eye could care less about statues but people act as if the Union were nice people...they were murderous terrorist bloodsuckers of poor as well...anyone trying to just tear down confederate statues looks quite foolish and a tad bit cowardly

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  7. Perhaps we should change the name of everything "Ravensworth", while we're at it. That house had the most slaves in Fairfax County.

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  8. Said the white person of privilege I’m sure. If there were a group of people that wanted your family enslaved in chains and armed themselves to fight to the death for that would you want to see them “celebrated” with statues, or might it bother you a tad ? Statues are for celebrating hero’s and change agents. The others belong in museums and history books so WE NEVER FORGET. There are no statues of Hitler but you know what the Holocaust is so you not ?

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  9. Please. The Lost Cause is a good cause to lose. Any glorification of anything confederate is glorifying the lost cause. And if you do not know what that is, let me clarify: white supremacy. Nothing more; nothing less. If you want to glorify men that fought to maintain human bondage and suffering, then you are sadly delusional. Nothing the south fought for is worth commemorating. Like Adam says, read some history. Frankly, read the June 28 New York Times editorial describing the best monument to the confederacy is light-skinned black people, or as the writer calls it her "rape-colored" skin. Or read the editorial about the names of George Washington's enslaved humans, the ones he so "valiently" released upon his death. Jefferson? He blew through two family fortunes and maintained a relationship with a house-slave over whom he had complete control. We as Americans need to have a genuine reckoning. It is not pretty. And we haven't even begun discussing what we've done to the natives.

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