Stop Memorializing a Slave Owner and White Supremacist: Rename Jefferson Davis Highway
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Jefferson Davis was hailed as the “champion of a slave society” when he was selected in 1861 to become President of the Confederate States of America. Davis was an unrepentant white supremacist who fervently believed the Southern cause, slavery and segregation were right and just until his last dying breath in 1889. It is therefore outrageous that a major Virginia thoroughfare, Jefferson Davis Highway (aka Route 1) which abuts the Pentagon and other US Capital landmarks continues to bear the name of a morally depraved, non-Virginian who rejected the very idea of a United States.
The back-story of the decision in 1920 to name southern sections of Route 1 after Davis adds to the disturbing legacy of racism in America. At that time, the Daughters of the Confederacy along with US Rep. Earl B. Mayfield of Texas, a close ally of the Ku Klux Klan, began a campaign to attach the name of the Confederate president to Southern roads in a futile attempt to create a transcontinental highway bearing his name. At the height of the Jim Crow era, when lynching of Southern blacks was conducted with regularity and impunity, these advocates of white domination routed a road symbolizing black oppression and enslavement across several predominately black neighborhoods, as if to reinforce the message of racial subjugation. The choice of name is, therefore, an affront to African-Americans and, indeed, all Americans who are repulsed by the evils of slavery, segregation and racism.
It's time for the Commonwealth of Virginia, to remove the name of this Confederate leader from all sections of Route 1 in Virginia.
Virginia is a state that prides itself on its diversity, technological innovation, leadership in education and progress. The name Jefferson Davis is far from what the state should honor. Let's stop indulging the race haters who named the road after their race hating hero. Let’s change the image of this important roadway from hatred and rename it to memorialize hope and progress.
Please sign this petition calling on Governor Terry McAulliffe, the Virginia General Assembly and the Commonwealth Transportation Board to rename all sections of Jefferson Davis Highway.
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