|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.