An elementary school in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia will be renamed from a Confederate general to the first black president of the United States!
The Richmond Public School board voted Monday night to officially change the name of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary. As a former student of J.E.B. Stuart Elementary, I am extremely proud of the measures taken to change the name of the school to an influential figure that my community and my city can be proud of, especially a school like Stuart where about 95% of the student body is African American.
The new name was chosen from a total of seven finalists. The vote was six-to-one. Against naming the school after President Barack Obama was Kenya Gibson, who was in favor of renaming Stuart after a more local figure. She told Richmond Times-Dispatch that Richmond is “about history and we have so many great local stories to tell. Our local stories are so important to cherish.”
According to Teen Vogue, Richmond is not the first school board to vote in favor of renaming a school after our former president. Last year, a Mississippi school board voted to change an elementary school’s name from Jefferson Davis (the president of the Confederacy) to instead honor Barack Obama.
Other options considered by the Richmond Public School board included Oliver Hill Elementary (named after a local civil rights attorney) and Henry Marsh Elementary (named after Richmond’s first black mayor).