- About 100 public schools in the United States are named after Confederate leaders, most commonly Robert E. Lee.
- Many schools are deciding whether or not they should change their names and rebrand over the Confederacy’s legacy.
- Some schools named after Lee are renaming themselves after other famous Lees to avoid the costs of a major rebrand that would include sign changes.
- Others are naming themselves after famous black leaders, like former President Barack Obama.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
School across the nation are grappling with issues over buildings named after Confederate leaders, and officials have found a number of ways to rebrand.
About 100 public schools in the United States are named after Confederate leaders, most commonly Robert E. Lee, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
Other leaders named on school buildings include Confederate States Army general J.E.B. Stuart, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and musician and Confederate soldier Sidney Lanier.
Schools have been named after Confederate leaders since the end of the Civil War, but dozens of districts have dropped the names in the years since due to the criticism over the legacies of such leaders.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that several schools named after Robert E. Lee are renaming themselves after other famous Lees – like Adelaide Lee, an Oklahoma philanthropist.
One school district in Texas rebranded a school into the Legacy of Educational Excellence, using “LEE” as an acronym.
The moves help the districts save money by not having to create brand new signs for buildings, or changing mascots, fight songs, school colours and team names.
The report led several people on social media to suggest other famous “Lees” to name schools after, including director Spike Lee and Marvel legend Stan Lee.
Sweet. Spike Lee Elementary!
— Brian Joseph (@BrianJoJo_) June 24, 2019
Downside: Lee Harvey Oswald Jr. High
Upside: Bruce Lee school for the performing arts, Lee Marvin HS.
— Chris Swartout (@chrisswartout) June 24, 2019
The “Bruce Lee Dragons” would be pretty kickass, and hard to beat.
— Jeff Prudhomme (@PrudhommeJeff) June 24, 2019
With other Confederate leaders, schools are taking different approaches.
Just last week, a school in Richmond, Virginia, changed its name from J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary.
“In the former capital of the Confederacy, we decided to stop honouring an individual who fought to preserve slavery – and to begin honouring our first African-American president instead,” superintendent Jason Kamras told Yahoo Lifestyle.
Kenya Gibson, a school board member in Richmond, had suggested the school be named after a local leader instead.
“Without a doubt, Barack Obama’s presidency was incredible and deserves recognition,” Gibson wrote on her Facebook page last year. “But here in Richmond, we stand in such a unique place because of our history. We have so many local leaders that deserve recognition.”
The debate over whether school names should be changes is still raging on in maybe parts of the country, with critics saying removing monuments or names is equivalent to erasing history.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were still 1,747 Confederate monuments still standing in 2016.
- Read more:
- Elizabeth Warren says it’s time for Mississippi to adopt a new state flag
- There are hundreds of Confederate monuments across the US – here’s when they were built
- There are still hundreds of Confederacy symbols across the US – here’s where they are
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.