Being home to much of our nation's history is sometimes a positive and a negative for the Dogwood state. Virginia not only played host to many historic people, battles, and stories but also has named many of the public high schools after them.
You have high schools names for geographic features, current and former cities, and quite a few names for historic figures.
This past week in Northern Virginia, the Fairfax County School Board voted 7-2-2 in favor of removing one of those names as the name of a high school in Virginia. That high school was J.E.B. Stuart high school, home of the Raiders, located in Falls Church just outside of Arlington.
James Ewell Brown Stuart the man was both a United States and Confederate serviceman. He garnered his fame as a civil war master general for the confederate forces. He was born in Patrick County and grew up in the Danville area. He would later die during the civil war and was buried in Richmond, at that time the capital of the confederacy.
In 1959 as Fairfax County was quickly growing J.E.B. Stuart was opened and named after the civil war general. Since then there has been off and on disputes over the namesake of this high school but no changes until this past week.
This recent vote could very well be just the starting point for a historic state like Virginia. We have seen outrage on both sides of the issue and likely will hear them for years to come. Especially when you consider Virginia has two high schools named after Robert E. Lee, two high schools named after Stonewall Jackson, and Lee-Davis high school which is a combination of Robert E. Lee and the former confederate president Jefferson Davis.
Though it seems to many to be a simple issue and solution regarding these names it must be noted that school officials are estimating a $500,000-750,000 cost to "rebrand" just J.E.B. Stuart alone. That alongside the strong connection to confederate history in Virginia makes this a very difficult and complicated matter.