Virginia board changes school’s name from Robert E. Lee to John Lewis

U.S. & World
John Lewis

– FILE – In this Thursday, May 10, 2007 file photo, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., in his office on Capitol Hill, in Washington. Lewis, who carried the struggle against racial discrimination from Southern battlegrounds of the 1960s to the halls of Congress, died Friday, July 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s largest school system is removing the name of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from one of its high schools in favor of the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

The Fairfax County School Board approved the change during a meeting Thursday. A news release posted on the school district’s website says the new name will be effective for the 2020-21 school year.

“The Board heard from students, teachers and staff members, families, and the community about the old name,” School Board Chair Ricardy Anderson said in the release.  “It was important for us to be mindful of these comments and to select a name that reflected the diversity and multiculturalism that currently exists at the school and in our community.” 

Other names under consideration included Barack Obama, Cesar Chavez, Mildred Loving, Central Springfield and Legacy.

“Rep. Lewis was a champion of the Civil Rights movement, and our Board strongly believes this is an appropriate tribute to an individual who is a true American hero,” Anderson said. “We will also honor his life’s work by continuing to promote equity, justice, tolerance and service in the work that we do.

The change comes nearly three years after the school system removed the name of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart from another high school.

Lewis, a civil rights icon, died last week.

Nexstar Media Wire contributed to this story.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com