Virginia school drops Confederate name in favor of Barack Obama

Gen. JEB Stuart Elementary will become Barack Obama Elementary in Richmond, Virginia. (Getty)

A Richmond, Virginia, elementary school will switch its name from that of a Confederate general to that of the nation’s first black President.

On Monday, the Richmond school board voted to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary as Barack Obama Elementary School, reported CNN affiliate WTVR.

Members of the school’s community submitted ideas for a new name and students at the Richmond school, which is 95% African-American according to WTVR, voted among seven choices. The top three finalists were: Barack Obama, Northside and Wishtree, the station reported.

Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Last year, a school board in Mississippi dropped the name Jefferson Davis, for the president of the Confederacy, in favor of naming an elementary school after America’s 44th president.

A debate surrounding what to do with Confederate names, statues and symbols has been underway in recent years since Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in 2015. And it flared up again after white nationalists marched during the summer to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counterprotester was killed.

The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that 100 public schools in the US are named for Confederate leaders, with most of them clustered in the South.