J.E.B. Stuart High School Should Change Its Name
In 1859 at Harper’s Ferry, J.E.B. Stuart knocked abolitionist John Brown out cold, taking his knife as a trophy. Disabling and disarming this visionary abolitionist was Stuart’s most enduring and symbolic legacy, earning him renewed glorification during Virginia’s Massive Resistance movement 100 years later.
In 1959, Fairfax County named its newest high school to glorify the Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart whose entire military career was dedicated to the perpetuation of slavery. He had no specific connection to Fairfax County or the school. Adding insult to injury this school name was a belligerent parting shot – a cheeky way to spit in the face of the civil rights movement. It is no coincidence that Fairfax County in 1959 also named the other new high school for Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
The high school’s rebel themed mascot, the Raiders, shows the confederate general on a charging horse with a battle flag with the implication that the south will rise again through armed rebellion
We must now mute these schools’ names that speak to each new generation with the savage vocabulary of ancient prejudice using the syntax of white supremacy. This isn’t political so much as it is symbolic – a way to help black children escape the oppressive names and legacies of those who fought to keep slavery and segregation.
Demand that Fairfax County change the name of these schools.
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