Saturday, January 12, 2019

Another Confederate Symbol Gone

The Civil War ended nearly 154 years ago, and ever since we've been trying to remove the symbols of that racist, treasonous legacy. From statues and monuments in public squares to highway names and names on public buildings, it's been a very slow fight. Starting in the first decade of the 20th century, we allowed people wanting to honor the Confederacy and to preserve Jim Crow and segregation to erect monuments to their "lost cause." In recent years -- most infamously in Charlottesville, VA -- the fight has met violent resistance from neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups wanting to maintain the symbols of racism under the guise of "heritage."

However, one by one, the symbols of the Confederacy are starting to disappear. Last week, in Arlington, VA, the school board finally ordered Washington - Lee High School to change its name to Washington - Liberty High School, so as not to honor a major leader of the Confederate treason, Robert E. Lee. The school board spent months getting community input and suggestions for a new name, which also included "Washington - Loving High School," to commemorate the interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving who successfully led the fight against miscegenation laws.

Interestingly, the high school is known in the Washington metro area for producing such celebrities as Warren Beatty, Shirley MacLaine, Sandra Bullock, and Gena Rowlands. Now, they can be proud of their alma mater and its new name.

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