Home Education How About Renaming J.E.B. Stuart High School to Barack Obama High School?

How About Renaming J.E.B. Stuart High School to Barack Obama High School?

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Following the Fairfax County School Board vote the other night to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School to something less, uh, Confederate, the question now arises: what should the new name be? I’ve heard one good idea so far (although there’s no specific Fairfax County connection I’m aware of) – Alice Jackson Stuart.

Alice Jackson Stuart was the first female African American to apply for graduate school studies at the University of Virginia. She was denied on the basis of “good and sufficient reasons” and later went on to earn her Master of Arts at Columbia University in 1937.

[…]

Several months after Alice Jackson got rejected from UVa, the Virginia State Board of Education created a graduate school for African Americans at Virginia State University in Petersburg in 1935. The following year, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Dovell Act (House Bill 470). This paid qualified black applicants’ tuition and travel expenses to attend schools outside the state. In the 1980s, University of Virginia and African American students at the school honored her. Shortly after her death in 2001, the Virginia Senate approved Joint Resolution No. 40 to honor Jackson.

Though Jackson’s actions were important in the long process of desegregation at UVa, the first African American student was not accepted at the graduate level until Gregory Swanson in 1950. Afterwards, African American students were slowly accepted at the graduate and undergraduate level.

In 2012 Jackson was posthumously honored as one of the Library of Virginia’s “Virginia Women in History” for her life’s work.

So, despite the lack of a specific Fairfax County connection, I like the idea of going with “Alice Jackson Stuart High School” for a few reasons: 1) there’s a strong Virginia connection; 2) she has a great, inspirational story; 3) it’s very fitting that the school’s name be changed to a successful, admirable African-American woman from a person who fought to keep blacks in a system of slavery for the indefinite future. As an added bonus, Alice Jackson Stuart shares the same last name as J.E.B. Stuart, so the high school could still be referred to as “Stuart High School,” possibly making the transition a bit easier for some people? This is definitely an idea that should be considered.

Now, here’s my brilliant (or not) thought: how about the idea of changing the name to Barack Obama High School? No, Obama isn’t from Fairfax County, but he did speak there in October 2012…and in November 2012…and in June 2008…and in July 2008…and in January 2009…and in September 2010…etc. Obama also paid a great deal of attention to Virginia, including holding his final, emotional rally of the amazing, historic 2008 campaign in Manassas. And, of course, Obama was the first Democratic candidate for President to carry Virginia since LBJ in 1964. Let alone the first African-American candidate for President to carry Virginia since…well, ever. And then to carry it again in his successful bid for reelection.

I’d further argue that Barack Obama – and his entire family, of course – represents a superb role model for young people of all backgrounds. A man of tremendous learning and respect for knowledge, science, the arts, humanities, etc. A teacher himself. A historic figure who did so much to improve the lives of people from all walks of life in this country. A class act all the way around, in stark contrast to the abomination currently besmirching the White House. A man who absolutely loves kids and is a “natural” with them. Very popular (a 63% favorable rating as of June 2017 — 95% among Democrats, 65% among independents), to boot.

As an added bonus, I checked with “Professor Google,” and couldn’t find any other high schools named after Barack Obama. Which means that if Fairfax County changes the name of “J.E.B. Stuart High School” to “Barack Obama High School,” it could very well be a first.

Anyway, it’s just an idea I wanted to throw out there. If you have other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section. But be clear; the name WILL be changing, the only question being to what exactly. Mark me down as one vote for “Barack Obama High School.”

  • John Farrell

    Nellie and Edwin Henderson are much better alternatives. They lived near Falls Church. They were educators and founders of the Virginia NAACP.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Henderson

  • dave schutz

    I think there are very good reasons not to name buildings after someone who is not dead yet. Particularly not to name buildings about someone so recently and currently politically active.
    As well, ‘Stuart High’ has one big advantage for graduates – kids applying to nearby schools will do fine under a new name, but if you apply from ‘Henderson High’ or ‘Obama High’ to Reed, or Irvine, or Rice – the admissions people won’t have any idea how favorably to look at the transcript. Into the bad pile it goes!

    • John Farrell

      “Stuart” perpetuates the vestiges of slavery, treason, Jim Crow and Massive Resistance.

      The GPA is more important than the name of the school to Admission officers.

      • dave schutz

        “…GPA is more important than the name of the school…” – that’s not actually true, in my experience. My boys graduated Washington-Lee with decent but not great GPAs, and got into nice schools. It was clear to me, at least, that the W-L ‘brand’ did them a lot of good.
        I tend to think a lot of the name change activity going on now is motivated by virtue signalling, people showing off how very swell and aware they are. Meanwhile the poor schlub who just opened a business on Jeff Davis Hwy and has splashed out for stationery is screwed, and has to get his web site adjusted with the new address.

        • John Farrell

          I’ve had 4 children graduate from FCPS and from 4 different colleges. I’ve also been part of the admissions team for a premiere college in New England for 40+ years. Admissions officers really don’t differentiate among most FCPS schools.

          You’re mistaken on the motivation for the name change but you’d have to have followed the process for the last decade.

          BTW, since your kids went to an Arlington public school, maybe kibitzing about FCPS borders trolling? Or should we start asking the Arlington school board when they’re going to drop that traitor’s name from your kid’s school’s name?

          • Kill da Trolley

            There is no effort in Arlington to drop Lee from Washington & Lee High School. We have a lot of problems in Arlington, but we’re not stupid enough to waste time and money changing a school’s name.

          • John Farrell

            No, they’d rather spend a million dollars on a bus stop.

            Guess they’re not so racially enlightened in Arlington after all.

          • Kill da Trolley

            Yeah, that’s right.

            Apparently, there’s no real effort to change Lee and Woodson in Fairfax County either. Those people saw the sh**show that went on with the Stuart debacle and came to theor senses.

            The Stuart name change came about because a couple of malcontent teachers riled up a handful of impressionable students. Tyranny of the minority.

          • John Farrell

            Don’t bet on it, Arlington troll.

          • Kill da Trolley

            Oh boy, troll. How edgy!

            The FCPS Board has said it has to come from school community itself. So far, nothing has come from those schools. But it sounds like you’re ready to lead the effort. Go ahead and waste more time and resources and create divisions that didn’t exist.

          • John Farrell

            Actually, it’s already started at both schools.

          • dave schutz

            There actually have been some people here in Arl who wanted to drop ‘Lee’ from the name. The issue seems to have gone dormant, I hope it stays that way. I like the ‘Stuart’ or ‘AJ Stuart’ proposals – we can learn from our brothers and sisters in Seattle, who ARE NOT GOING TO LET ANYONE OUT-WOKE THEM and were embarrassed that their county was named after slave-holding vice president King, so they renamed it after Martin Luther King. Here in Arlington, it would be possible to drop the name of the vile Woodrow Wilson from our big east-west artery and name it after long-time and honorable School Board member Frank N. Wilson.

    • muppetzinspace

      Well, Stuart is a diverse and low achiving school already. Changing the name isn’t going to change already held perceptions of the school itself or the students that go there. College administrators know the types of kids that attend these schools.

  • ProSe America

    What a joke – this group has blocked me on Twitter – the Blue in Virginia is Bias and a bunch of “Do as I say not as I do” Changing a name, taking down a statue for a bunch of Democrats doesn’t change History nor does it change what bigots they are if you don’t agree 100% with them. Most of our issues are not Democrat or Republican they are American issues that both parties are ignoring for there own egos. The Democrats should wake up as they and get off there high horse – and realize they have lost touch with the people, and all integrity especially in Virginia. The Government, the Elected Officials , the Judiciary especially are all CORRUPT!! You can not walk into a court room in Virginia and get a Fair and unbiased trial. Virginia Judges rule on who buys them SEX, breakfast, lunch, dinner or a Weekend getaway -but, you won’t do an article on that. The blue doesn’t like talking about the corruption that they are a party to. It will be interesting to see how quickly they take down this comment – The First Ammendment and the exposure of the Corruption is not a part of the Blue Virginia.

    • muppetzinspace

      Nobody is trying to “change history” by renaming a school. The name was chosen in 1958 during massive resistence in Virginia. There’s no coincidence why several schools opened at that time were named after confederates. This has nothing to do with changing the outcome of the Civil War, which btw the Confederates lost.

  • Stephen Seelinger

    First of all, the need to waste millions of dollars to change the name of JEB Stuart High School is about as ridiculous as anything I have ever heard. Then to name it after another person (such as Obama) who some hold in much higher regard than others (not because of race, but because of actions/ agendas etc.) is just as ridiculous. AND, there are numerous schools named after Obama already, so your idea of being the first, is another ridiculous idea. Maybe we can be the first with the high school named Jojo Potato HS? I agree this doesn’t make sense, but we can be first… Since it is going to be changed, simply change it to something geographical…such as Lake Barcroft HS…

    • John Farrell

      It’s not millions and the costs will be substantially paid by the advocates directly and through fundraising.

      • Kill da Trolley

        They won’t get any money from alumni. Stuart alums were vehemently opposed to the name change. Julianne Moore should write a big check, but she won’t.

      • Stephen Seelinger

        too much time and money has already been wasted on this. as for the “advocates” paying for this, we’ll see, I can’t imagine the county not having to stroke a check for this…

  • Kill da Trolley

    This is a joke right? Please tell me it’s a joke.

    • John Farrell

      No

      • Kill da Trolley

        I will make sure it never happens.

        • John Farrell

          It’s already happened.

          • Kill da Trolley

            I will make sure it’s never named after Obama.

          • John Farrell

            You’re sounding like the Orange Donut.

          • Kill da Trolley

            Didn’t vote for him, but at least I understand why people did.

          • Stephen Seelinger

            typical kind of response

  • History Records

    Perhaps the school should be named after three Presidents – Washington, Truman and Filmore. WTFHS!