Virginia city renames burial site of Stonewall Jackson

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — A Virginia city has officially renamed the cemetery where Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is buried.

The city council in Lexington voted unanimously Thursday to adopt a law changing the name of Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery to Oak Grove Cemetery, news outlets reported.

The Civil War general, who owned slaves and fought to defend the practice, was buried in the cemetery more than 150 years ago.

Officials faced calls from community members in June to change the name and remove all other monuments and places honoring Confederate figures within city limits, as communities around the world faced similar demands to address racist legacies during demonstrations against racial injustice.

The council voted unanimously in July to change the name and moved forward with the change even after receiving hundreds of comments demanding the decision be reversed, The Roanoke Times said.

Councilman Chuck Smith said the effect on tourism would likely be “negligible” and added that supporting the racist legacy of Jackson would be “unacceptable and indefensible.”

“Visitors interested in Jackson don’t come for the sign, they come for the man,” he said. “Jackson owned slaves and fought for slavery … Memorializing Jackson in a Lexington city cemetery announces to everyone that the city and its residents support Jackson and what he stood and fought for.”

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