An online petition signed by 338 people as of Wednesday morning is urging Mason District School Board member Sandy Evans to spearhead a name change for the J.E.B. Stuart High School in the Sleepy Hollow section of greater Falls Church. J.E.B. Stuart was a prominent Confederate general during the Civil War, and the petitioners contend that when the high school named for him was built in the 1950s, citizens deliberately chose the name of Confederate soldiers as a means of protest against court orders to racially integrate the schools. “The use of Confederate names was used to intimidate and shame black students,” the petition states.
In the wake of the murder of nine black members of an historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, moves have been swift to remove images of the Confederate flag throughout the south, and the J.E.B. Stuart petition is in that spirit. It includes a list of schools around the U.S. where name changes have occurred out of sensitivity for racial equality. Rising Stuart senior Anna Rowan has spearheaded this petition effort.
In addition to J.E.B. Stuart, the petition calls for the removal of all Confederate-related school names in Fairfax County.