Remember when The Kudzu Project vinebombed Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton, Virginia? Our flash installation on the school sign called attention to an issue that this small city in the Shenandoah Valley has been grappling with for several years - whether to change the name of the high school and if so, to what?
On March 23, the Staunton News Leader published an editorial endorsing the name change and offering five suggestions for new names. Each possibility has a strong connection to Staunton, from the first black city councilwoman, Rita Wilson, to Willis M. Carter, who was born a slave and became a teacher, civil rights activist, journalist and statesman, to Francis Collins, who decoded the human genome and went on to become Director of the National Institutes of Health. The point is there are many worthy contenders whose name would both inspire local high school students and reflect the school board's self-stated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Kudos to the Staunton News Leader for putting these ideas forward and suggesting that citizens require school board candidates to reveal their positions on renaming the high school before the upcoming election on May 1st.
The Kudzu Project discussed this and other issues related to Confederate memorials last week on WPVC's Sunday Morning Wake-up call with host Rick Moore. You can listen to the broadcast here.