VMI board votes to remove Stonewall Jackson’s name from buildings

The Virginia Military Institute has taken action to remove the name of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from some of its buildings.

The school’s Board of Visitors voted to remove the embossed name of Jackson on the front of Old Barracks. Jackson’s name will also be scrubbed from Memorial Hall.

A committee tasked with naming and commemorations will determine a new name for the building and whether the archway also needs a new name.

Furthermore, a quote attributed to Jackson on the second stoop of Old Barracks will be attributed to William Alcott and Rev. Joel Hawes, who included, “You may be whatever you resolve to be,” in publications in 1834 and 1851. The plaque will include a statement that former VMI professor Thomas J. Jackson included the quote in his book of maxims.

The board voted, however, to preserve the Clinedinst mural depicting the 1864 Battle of New Market, when cadets fought along side Confederate forces. Members directed the VMI Museum to develop a system to provide context for the mural.

The changes come months after the school removed a prominent statue of Jackson in December, a project initiated after allegations of systemic racism in the public college. Jackson taught at the institution from 1851 to 1861. He was an “unpopular faculty member, one who was the target of many student pranks,” according to the school’s history.

Last month, the school voted on a new superintendent — Retired Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins. He was tapped to serve as interim superintendent last November after the previous superintendent resigned amid allegations of pervasive racism.

Wins will be the first Black leader to serve in the role.

The board also voted to increase tuition and fees by 2.3%, which amounts to a $762 increase for in-state students and a $1,408 increase for out-of-state cadets.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She has a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University and a master’s degree in English Literature from The George Washington University.

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