Alexandria City Council votes to rename Jefferson Davis Highway

WASHINGTON — In a unanimous vote Saturday, the Alexandria City Council has decided to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway, a roadway named for Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

“I could honestly say, personally, raise my taxes to pay for it, to satisfy my parents, my grandparents,” Councilman Willie F. Bailey Sr. said.

The council discussed the possibility of changing the name to Patrick Henry but tabled the discussion for later. An advisory committee did not recommend name changes for all the streets in Alexandria named after Confederate soldiers but has now opened the door for neighbors who want a street change to petition for one.

The council on Saturday also voted in favor of asking the Virginia General Assembly for permission to move the Appomattox statue, a statue of a Confederate soldier that currently stands in Old Town, at South Washington and Prince streets.

The statue depicts a pensive Confederate soldier and is owned by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Erected in 1889, it bears the names of local residents who died on behalf of the South during the Civil War.

Some residents have said the statue should stand as is because it depicted the loss of lives of Alexandria soldiers. Others have said it should be removed.

The council discussed the possibility of moving the statue to the Lyceum history museum, where it could be viewed in historical context, but tabled that discussion for a future date. The statue cannot be moved without approval by the General Assembly.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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