It’s Not Just Flags. All These Public Schools Are Named After Notorious Racists.

Klan leaders, Confederate generals, the list goes on.


The Confederate flag is hardly the only symbol of the South’s racist history that has yet to go away. Indeed, public schools nationwide still bear the names of long-dead champions of a white-supremacist state.

The good news is that several of those schools have reconsidered their loaded names. Last year, the Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida, became Westside High School. Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. And Aycock Hall at Duke University, named for former North Carolina Gov. Charles Aycock, an avowed white supremacist, became East Residence Hall. This move prompted East Carolina University eight months later to rename its own Aycock Hall as Heritage Hall. Last May, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill changed Saunders Hall to Carolina Hall to shed its association with Klan leader William Saunders.

Last week, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who formerly served as San Antonio’s mayor, posted a message on his personal Facebook page calling on that city’s North East Independent School District to rename Robert E. Lee High School. “There are other, more appropriate individuals to honor and spotlight as role models for our young people,” Castro wrote.

But scores of American schools still bear the monikers of Confederate brass. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we put together a map of some of those schools below. It includes more than 60 schools—mostly in the South, not surprisingly—and there are undoubtedly others, between private schools and public schools, that have changed names recently in the opposite direction. And then there are the schools located on streets named for Confederate figures, such as the ironically named Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School on Mosby Street in Richmond, Virginia. John Singleton Mosby, a.k.a. “the Gray Ghost,” was a Confederate colonel who reportedly wrote to a colleague, “I’ve always understood that we went to war on account of the thing we quarreled with the North about.…I’ve never heard of any other cause than slavery.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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