List grows of potential names to replace Stonewall Jackson

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

The Prince William County School Board will vote Monday on renaming two schools currently named after Stonewall Jackson.

In a second virtual meeting Thursday, board members heard more suggestions.

Most of the speakers suggested names while three people spoke out against renaming Stonewall Jackson High School and Stonewall Middle School.

Arthur Reed, a long-time security assistant at the high school; Celestine and Carroll Braxton, a local educator and her veteran husband; Lucinda Griffin, a Black girl who was enslaved and shot during the First Battle of Manassas; and Ibram Kendi, a historian, educator, author and graduate of Stonewall Jackson High, were among the top recommendations.

Celestine Braxton was a long-time educator in the county for 33 years who died in 2014. Braxton started teaching before racial segregation was ruled unconstitutional.

Other suggestions included Innovation and Unity, as well as other names, including former Gov. Doug Wilder and Mary Bowser, a Black woman who was formerly enslaved and who served as a spy for the Union during the Civil War, according to the Washington Post.

Another suggestion was to rename the schools after Joyce Russel Terrell. She integrated Gar-Field High in 1961.

The renaming committee is composed of Chair Babur Lateef and school board members Adele Jackson, Brentsville District, and Jennifer Wall, Gainesville District, but renaming the schools will require action by the 8-member board.

“We have to find other ways to honor our history, including in our curriculum,” Lateef said.

The stories of Griffin, Bowser and Russell Terrell, were moving, Lateef said.

“I think we have an exciting couple of days,” he said. “I think it’ll be an improvement of where we are now.”

Adele Jackson said the county has a beautiful and diverse history.

“We can’t pick every name,” she said.

Jackson said the suggestions are fantastic.

“We have a tough decision to make,” she said.

The renaming committee held its first meeting to receive suggestions for the school names at a virtual meeting June 22.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

 

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