Virginia High School Looking Into Replacing Robert E. Lee With Interracial Couple’s Name

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

A Virginia high school could replace Robert E. Lee’s name on the school with a couple’s name who was part of a landmark Supreme Court case that pushed against state laws banning interracial marriage.

A 21-member committee appointed by the Arlington County school board is looking into changing the name of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia, to Washington-Loving, The Associated Press reported Tuesday. Washington-Liberty is another proposed name. The board will discuss the proposed names at a meeting on Dec. 20.

The Loving name comes from Mildred and Richard Loving, a Virginia couple whose marriage was under question in the state as interracial marriage was not allowed. The 1967 Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, reversed Virginia’s rule against interracial marriage.

Students and community members can provide input on name ideas for the school, according to Washington-Lee’s website.

The Arlington School Board has considered the school’s name change since white supremacists clashed with Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, according to Arlington Now.

“Celebrating your school pride should not mean having to wear a shirt like this one that honors a person who may not share your values,” board member Monique O’Grady said, ARLnow reported on June 8. “As we become a more diverse community, we must become more open to the perspectives of many, and how holding onto some elements of our past can have an impact on our future.”

A sign reading "Hate Has No Home Here" hangs by the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville "Unite the Right" protests, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., August 10, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

A sign reading “Hate Has No Home Here” hangs by the statue of Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee, ahead of the one year anniversary of 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” protests, in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S., Aug. 10, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lee was a Confederate general who has been associated with fighting for slavery, ARLnow reported. (RELATED: UNC Profs Threaten To Destroy Confederate Monument Unless It’s Taken Down)

However, Lee was known as “the rebel general” because he did not believe in slavery or secession, according to Britannica.

The events in Charlottesville brought Confederate statues and symbols under question, with some even being asked to be removed. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announced a proposal Monday to relocate “Silent Sam” to an indoor location after the statue was toppled and vandalized. University of Massachusetts Amherst police were also called in November because of a drawing that appeared to be the Confederate flag.

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