Thousands of children across the US attend schools that bear the names of Confederate leaders who fought to preserve slavery and White supremacy in America.
More than 240 schools across the US are named in honor of Confederate leaders, according to the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). Approximately half of those schools serve students that are predominantly Black or nonwhite.
Many schools were given Confederate-related names in the 1950s and 1960s as part of a coordinated effort by governors, legislators and White leaders to push back against racial integration in public schools, the EJI said.
Confederate-named schools are located in 17 states, with some being found in Georgia, Alabama and Texas. The schools range from public elementary to high schools, and the majority of the schools are located in the South from North Carolina to Texas.
Jefferson Davis Elementary School in Greenwood, Mississippi is named after the Confederate President who led the charge to preserve slavery, and nearly all of the students who attend the school are African American, according to the EJI.
Stonewall Jackson Elementary in Plant City, Florida, is named after General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, who led the Confederate Army and bought and sold slaves. The EJI says that the school is made up of 85% nonwhite students.
As these public schools bearing the name of Confederate leaders opened their doors to Black people, many White students fled to private schools, leading to more nonwhites making up the majority of the student body today, the EJI says.
More than 30 schools in the US have been renamed since 2014 in order to eliminate any link to Confederacy, according to the EJI.
The Montgomery County Board of Education voted to rename three schools — Robert E. Lee High School, Jefferson Davis High School and Sidney Lanier High School — amid national protests in July.
However, many schools still bear the names of Confederate leaders, and the EJI says this could lead some young students to “embrace the names, likenesses, and symbols of men who fought a brutal war against the US in order to preserve White supremacy.”
Since the death of George Floyd and protests flared across the US, at least 45 Confederate symbols have been removed or relocated from public places, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.