Ten school names have been presented to the Loudoun County School Board for consideration to be renamed due to their association with Confederate or segregationist history.
Local researchers, including individuals from the Black History Committee of the Friends of Thomas Balch Library, presented the names to board members this week along with historic information pertaining to each. The committee’s research expands upon similar initiatives conducted by History Matters, LLC, an organization contracted by the county to provide information about future school names.
While there are presently no schools in Loudoun County named in honor of Confederate leaders, the 10 under review were determined to carry enough of an association to warrant further inspection.
“The people/place for whom they are named have a direct association with [the] enslavement of people, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Lost Cause and the American Colonization Society,” Black History Committee member Larry Branch wrote in an April letter addressed to the School Board’s Division of Planning Services.
“In our opinion, based on the criteria for this review, the reasons for changing the names of these schools are obvious,” Branch continued. “As the county lays the groundwork for a future school naming process, care must be taken to be more inclusive: not just for African Americans but for everyone.”
The Loudoun County schools subject to review are:
- Belmont Ridge Middle School
- Belmont Station Elementary School
- Emerick Elementary School
- Ball’s Bluff Elementary School
- Hutchison Farm Elementary School
- Mercer Middle School
- Moorefield Station Elementary School
- Hazel Reid Elementary School
- Sully Elementary School
- Seldens Landing Elementary School
Of those, the BHC highlighted Mercer Middle School and Frances Hazel Reid Elementary as two primary schools that should be subject to change.
Reid spent time during her 20s as a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, Loudoun County School Board Chairman Jeff Morse acknowledged during the meeting, adding that she went on to serve 70 years as a local journalist.
“I hope we can look at the total contribution of the individuals, and see how that weighs out,” Morse said, according to a WTOP report.
The chair then posed the question of whether to judge the nation’s Founding Fathers by “the weight of their entire career, or would it be the specific fact that they were slave owners?”
Fellow school board member Atoosa Reaser replied, “The demographics of our community that were most affected by the actions people took in history should have the loudest voice in influencing our decision with how to balance the factors of what a person did, throughout their life.”
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