Name of Virginia Street Honoring Confederacy's President Will Change

The Alexandria City Council has voted to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway, which honors the president of the Confederacy.

The city council voted unanimously Saturday for the change.

Alexandria's Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names recommended removing Jefferson Davis' name from Route 1.

While the council was unanimous in its decision to accept the group's recommendation, citizens who testified at the meeting were not.

"I believe Jefferson Davis was a hero... he's been called a tragic hero," resident Bernard Berne told the council.

"There was no honor in the Confederate cause, and there should be none in its memory," said resident Cat Clark.

Some said the council is trying to conceal the city's past.

"Alexandria, this wonderful city, it seems to me is working to hide history. I doubt that there is one person in this entire room who wouldn't want to change something about their own past. But, guess what? We can't," said resident Gale Nemec.

But others said the committee's recommendations don't go far enough.

"You failed us! The commission failed us! I'm not compromising ever again," said resident Greg Thrasher.

Last year, the council created the seven-member ad hoc group to address the city's Confederate flags, memorials and roads named after confederates. The committee was formed in the wake of the church shooting in Charlestown, South Carolina. The shooting sparked a nation-wide debate about America's Confederate flags and memorials.

The council also voted to seek permission from the Virginia General Assembly to move a 7-foot, bronze statue of a Confederate soldier from its place in Old Town to a museum.

The statue of a pensive Confederate soldier is owned by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Erected in 1889, it bears the names of local residents who died on behalf of the South during the Civil War.

The city council wants to move the statue to the city's Lyceum history museum. It can't be moved without approval by Virginia's General Assembly.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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