Public comment & vote on renaming Confederate streets in Alexandria this weekend

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This Saturday, January 20, from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., the public will get to have a say on the renaming of streets in Alexandria that are named after Confederate figures. A vote is also scheduled for that meeting.

The proposals under consideration are:

Renaming North Breckinridge Place in honor of Harriet Jacobs

This street is currently named after John Cabell Breckinridge who was elected Vice President of the U.S. in 1856 and later served as Brigadier General, CSA.

Renaming Forrest Street as Forest Street

This street is named for the Confederate General Nathan Bedford or for French Forrest, Confederate navy commander and builder of the Confederate warship the CSS Virginia, the City says. Before it was changed in 1941, it was Pitts Avenue.

Rededicating North Jordan Street / South Jordan Street / Jordan Court in honor of Thomasina Jordan

These are currently named for Thomas Jordan a CSA Brigadier General, the City reports.

Renaming North & South Early Street in honor of Charity Earley

These are also named for a CSA Brigadier General, Jubal A. Early, the City notes.

Background on Renaming

According to an announcement from the City, these proposals were selected for a vote at a legislative meeting on January 9.

The proposals are based on research by the Historic Alexandria Research Committee, community feedback, and recommendations made by the City Council Naming Committee, the City says.

Thomasina Jordan and Charity Earley were suggestions from the community. And both names received support in a survey of affected residents and from individuals who came to speak at a November 29, 2023 Naming Committee public hearing, the City also noted.

This effort to rename streets comes from a proposal introduced by Mayor Justin Wilson last January.

According to the City, many of the streets in Alexandria that are named after Confederates were named in 1953 through an ordinance that stated “streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of Confederate military leaders.”

That ordinance passed “in anticipation of the landmark Supreme Justice Court Case of Brown v. Board of Education – a defining point in the Civil Rights Movement,” the City says.

The renaming that will be considered this weekend is part of a 15-year process to rename or rededicate roadways “in a manner that creates the least disruption for residents and businesses.” The aim, according to the City, is to make Alexandria inclusive and decrease the 13% gap between white (77%) and non-white residents (64%) that “feel openness and acceptance of the community toward diverse backgrounds.”

Attending the meeting

The public hearing will be held in the City Hall Council Chambers at 301 King St. on the 2nd floor.

You can sign up to speak here.

The meeting will be broadcast on government channel 70 and streamed on the City’s website.

You can also register for a reminder and Zoom link here.

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