Panel recommends change to name of Jefferson Davis Highway

WASHINGTON — A major road in Alexandria could be getting a new name.

A city committee established to consider changing the names of streets and landmarks named after Confederate figures has recommended changing the name of Jefferson Davis Highway inside the city.

The Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names released its recommendations on Thursday. As well as changing the name of the road from that of the president of the Confederacy, the committee recommended three other steps:

  • The Appomattox statute on South Washington Street should stay, albeit “with additional efforts made to add context to its story”;
  • The City Council should consider requests to change street names on a case-by-case basis, rather than establishing a blanket policy;
  • There’s no need for a specific policy on flags on city property.

The committee held five public meetings on the topic of Confederate names, at which they heard from 60 speakers, and got 150 online comments on the subject.

The City Council will consider the panel’s recommendations at its meeting Saturday, Sept. 17. It begins at 9:30 a.m., and public comment will be accepted. When the docket is finished, it, and the sign-up sheet to comment, will be posted online.

The group comprised two members appointed by City Manager Mark Jinks and one each from each of the Alexandria Human Rights Commission, the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission, the Alexandria Society for the Preservation of Black Heritage, the Alexandria Planning Commission and the Alexandria Transportation Commission.

The group’s report, agendas and minutes, as well as video recording of each meeting, are already online.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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