June 19 (UPI) — An elementary school in Virginia will change its name from J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary School next month, officials said.
In a 6-1 vote, the Richmond Public School board voted late Monday on the name change. Earlier this year, the board voted to remove the name of the Confederate general.
Students, parents, school staff and community members submitted seven options for a new name, including the 44th U.S. president, Henry Marsh, the first African-American mayor of Richmond, civil rights activist Barbara Johns and longtime Richmond educator Albert Narrell.
The top three finalist names were Obama, Northside and Wishtree.
The school, with a 95 percent black student population, is the only school in Richmond named for a Confederate general. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
“It’s incredibly powerful that in the capital of the Confederacy, where we had a school named for an individual who fought to maintain slavery, that now we’re renaming that school after the first black president,” Supt. Jason Kamras said. “A lot of our kids, and our kids at J.E.B. Stuart, see themselves in Barack Obama.”
A number of cities have removed Confederate statues from public spaces and changed the names of public buildings honoring southern Civil War leaders in recent years.
Last year, St. Louis removed a monument that became a target for vandals upset at what they viewed as a racist symbol.
In 2015, then-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law to remove the Confederate flag from the capitol building.
The Southern Poverty Law Center said there are still 100 U.S. schools named for prominent Confederates.