Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Back to 1958

Jay Spiegel's letter about changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School touched on the usual points and made the usual logic errors about renaming the school. His points and mine also apply to other monuments to the Confederacy.

For the record, my mother was a Virginia Byrd and I was born and raised in the South.

J.E.B. Stuart High School was named in 1958 during the period of Virginia's massive resistance to Brown vs. Board of Education. Yes, J.E.B. Stuart was a famous Virginian, but the school was named to send a message, and not a subtle one.

Stuart took up arms against his country to defend slavery. This was treason, based on slavery. What is there to celebrate in this?

Conflating slave-owning Confederate officers who took up arms against their country with slave owners, such as Washington and Jefferson, who created this country is a fundamental logic error. It is long past time to stop spouting this nonsense.

The FCSB should rename the school and it should also put up a large plaque in front of the school that talks about slavery, treason, and massive resistance to desegregation in Virginia.

If Mr. Spiegel is concerned about the park across the street still being named for J.E.B. Stuart after the school name changes, we can put up the same plaque there.

Then we can say that real history is being preserved, not some misbegotten fantasy of white southern gentility and chivalry that lay atop an empire of slavery, blood, and treason.

Jim Gearing

Alexandria

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