Rename J.E.B. Stuart High School after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall
This petition made change with 39,552 supporters!
We have been friends since 8th grade in Fairfax County, Virginia, and attended J.E.B. Stuart High School. When our school was founded in 1959, it was named after Stuart, a Confederate General, to protest the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling that ended the segregation of public schools.
Today, this school is attended by a diverse group of students who should not have to attend a school that bears the name of a man who fought to keep African Americans enslaved. So we're calling on the Fairfax County School Board to rename it Thurgood Marshall High School. Not only was Marshall the first African American Supreme Court Justice and a civil rights leader, he was our neighbor and a member of our community.
When we were at J.E.B. Stuart in the late ’70’s, the school symbol was Stuart riding a horse and waving the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag was at the center of our basketball court and on our athletic letter jackets and wasn’t removed until 2001--but the symbol of Stuart on a horse waving a flag (now solid blue) remains. No one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended and the history of racism it represents, as we and so many alumni of Stuart have felt the need to do our whole lives.
The killings of nine African Americans in Charleston, South Carolina by a white supremacist who proudly flew and wore the Confederate battle flag was a tragic reminder of how these symbols of hate continue to fuel racism and violence. And it’s sparked a national conversation about the appropriateness of honoring the Confederacy, especially in institutions of learning.
Renaming schools is not an uncommon practice. In fact, in 2013 a father in Jacksonville, Florida launched a successful petition on Change.org to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. Forrest was a Confederate General and leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
We have the support of many current students, represented by Students for Change, and former students, represented by Alumni for Change, as well as the Fairfax County NAACP and People Demanding Action. It’s time to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School.Please sign our petition to help us honor a true leader and hero by creating Thurgood Marshall High School.
Bruce Cohen is an Academy Award-winning producer of film, television and theater. Bruce won the Best Picture Oscar for producing AMERICAN BEAUTY in 1999. He earned additional Best Picture nominations for MILK (2008) and SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012). He was nominated for an Emmy for producing the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in 2010. Bruce has always been passionate about promoting fairness and equality. He graduated from J.E.B. Stuart in 1979.
Julianne Moore is an Academy Award-winning actress, who won the Best Actress Oscar this year, as well as the Golden Globe and the SAG Award, for STILL ALICE. She earned four additional Oscar nominations for Best Actress in THE END OF THE AFFAIR (1999) and FAR FROM HEAVEN (2002) and Best Supporting Actress in BOOGIE NGHTS (1997) and THE HOURS (2002). Julianne works diligently to effect change for many causes that are close to her heart. She attended J.E.B. Stuart from 1975-77.
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