Alexandria City Council Continues Effort to Remove Name of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Highway


The Alexandria City Council’s next step in erasing Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s name from a major highway that runs through the municipality will come on Tuesday, when the date for a hearing on the matter is chosen.

Radio station WTOP reports City Manager Mark B. Jinks is moving the project along:

A recommendation from Jinks to be taken up by the city council Tuesday would set a public hearing on the name change June 23.

After the public hearing, Alexandria would change the name of the road on Jan. 1, 2019.

If the name change is approved, Alexandria would replace 10 basic street signs, one large street sign, and nine illuminated street signs at an expected cost of $27,150.

Updates to maps and public records would be made incrementally.

The city council first voted in favor of the name change in September 2016, with all council members in favor.

The City of Alexandria’s website shows that on May 19, 2017, Jinks established an ad hoc advisory group to solicit name suggestions for the highway.

About 100 people answered the survey and among the eight names presented to the council was President Barack Obama and Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed during a violent protest between groups seeking to protect and take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But WTOP reported that Jinks decided the highway should be called Richmond Highway rather than after an individual who could become controversial in the future.

“A change in street name will primarily impact residents and businesses on Jefferson Davis Highway, who will likely need to replace stationary and marketing materials, update vendors with new contact information, and in some cases, replace signage,” a fiscal impact statement included in WTOP’s report said.

The part of the route south of Alexandria in Fairfax County is already called Richmond Highway.

According to U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, the naming of the highway that runs through many other jurisdictions besides Alexandria dates back to 1913 when the United Daughters of the Confederacy suggested a road stretching through the South should bear Davis’s name.

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