The only school in Richmond, Virginia, named after a Confederate general will become Barack Obama Elementary School.
WHSV reported the Richmond School Board voted 6-1 to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to now honor the 44th president. J.E.B. Stuart was a Confederate general and slave owner.
The only dissenting vote came from Kenya Gibson, who wanted more time to review possible names and include local heroes.
“This is Richmond, and we are about history, and we have so many great local stories to tell,” Gibson said. “Our local stories are so important to cherish.”
Superintendent Jason Kamras believes the name change is a sign of progress for Richmond.
“It’s incredibly powerful that in the capital of the Confederacy, where we had a school named for an individual who fought to maintain slavery, that now we’re renaming that school after the first black president,” Kamras said to The Richmond Times-Dispatch. “A lot of our kids, and our kids at J.E.B. Stuart, see themselves in Barack Obama.”
After polling the student body, who is 95 percent black, the list of possible names was narrowed down to Barack Obama, Northside and Wishtree. Other suggestions included John Adams, Jackie Robinson and Henry Marsh.
The school board said it would cost about $26,000 to rename the school and hadn't set a date for the change.