Jackson, Mississippi: A school in Mississippi is dropping its connection to the American Confederacy’s only president, Jefferson Davis, and renaming itself after President Barack Obama. Jefferson Davis was President of the Confederate (Southern) States of America during the Civil War.
Davis International Baccalaureate Elementary School in Jackson will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet IB following a vote.
The move, which when approved will come into force in the next academic year, was proposed by parents and approved by a majority of students, parents, faculty and staff members.
Ninety-eight percent of the students who attend the school are African-American.
“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” said Janelle Jefferson, the PTA President, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
“The students had overwhelming support for President Obama,” she said, explaining that a three-week process took place in which students carried out research and presented their findings.
“We wanted to be very inclusive and transparent in the process to be fair, to make sure everybody felt like they had a voice,” Ms Jefferson said.
She said there will be “some very aggressive fundraising campaigns” to pay for new signs, stationery or other items needed for the name change to Obama.
Jed Oppenheim, a school board member, said people have been asking for years why three schools in a majority African-American district are still named for Confederate figures.
Nearby George Elementary is named after James Zachariah George, who signed Mississippi’s secession ordinance and drafted the state constitution that denied voting rights to black citizens. Lee Elementary is named after Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general.
New Orleans removed a century-old statue of Davis in May.
There has been a movement to remove Confederate-era monuments, flags and names in recent years. The Confederate flag was removed from several court houses and government buildings following the massacre of black church-goers by Dylann Roof, a white nationalist, in June 2015.
Violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this August reignited the debate over race and the legacy of slavery.
President Donald Trump defended the far-Right protesters and said the removal of monuments to Confederate figures was “so sad”.
“Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” he tweeted.
A panel of historic properties advisers in Kentucky on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, recommended removing a plaque from the statue of Jefferson Davis, in the Rotunda of the state Capitol in Frankfort, Kenturkey, that identifies the only president of the Confederacy as a “patriot, hero, statesman.”
Civil rights activists say remnants of the Confederacy era promote racism and division, while advocates contend they recognise Civil War history and Southern heritage.