Movement Builds to Rename Jefferson Davis Highway in Va.

More than 3,000 people have signed petitions calling for Virginia to remove Confederate leader Jefferson Davis' name from a state highway.

The name Jefferson Davis Highway applies to U.S. 1 that runs from the Potomac River through Virginia to the North Carolina border. Other highways in the South are also named for Davis.

The Washington Post reports Virginia's legislature voted to rename highways in Davis' honor in 1922 at the behest of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Vienna, Virginia, lawyer Daniel Zim wrote on a petition that it is outrageous a major Virginia road is still named for a non-Virginian who rejected the idea of the United States. The petition has garnered more than 2,600 signatures.

"Davis was an unrepentant white supremacist who fervently believed the Southern cause, slavery and segregation were right and just," Zim wrote.

Petition organizers hope to build on momentum after last month's mass killing of church members in Charleston, South Carolina. The Confederate flag was removed from statehouse grounds there on Friday.

Real estate agent Diane Duston, of Arlington, started another petition calling for Virginia to change the highway name. It has collected more than 500 signatures.

"One hundred and fifty years of mollifying supporters of the Confederacy is enough," Duston said. "We're through with what the Confederacy stood for."

Northern Virginia lawmakers are discussing the issue but said it would be a difficult process to make such a change. The Arlington County Board plans to ask its legislative delegation to sponsor a bill to change the name.

A spokesman for House Speaker William Howell, of Stafford, declined to comment. A spokesman for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe did not respond to a request for an interview.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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