Local highways undergo name change



Lee highway or Route 29 along with Lee Jackson Memorial highway is in the process of being renamed

Kusum Rao, Staff Writer

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has been discussing name changes for Lee Jackson Memorial Highway and Lee Highway in the last couple months because of the confederate past both these historical leaders have. 

These highways were named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, two confederate generals during the Civil War. The confederacy fought for upholding the institution of slavery in the south and because of that many believe these highway names are not an accurate representation of the progress the country has been able to make. 

“I think it’s a very progressive idea to change the name of these highways,” senior Asrith Biradavolu said. “This is a small step taken towards racial inclusivity and is a way of getting rid of the racism that’s ingrained in today’s society.” 

According to the Fairfax County Government News Center, the county is dedicated to advancing the racial and social equity to “foster a healthy, vibrant and equitable community.” The board enacted a confederate task force in mid December of 2021, consisting of Fairfax County residents, homeowner associations and historical/civic organizations to meet monthly to discuss possible new names and whether the idea of name changing is effective or not. The County’s hope is to produce a new name as soon as possible. 

“I think Fairfax County’s idea of putting forth a confederate task force is great because it shows priority in how changing something seemingly as little as a highway name actually has a greater effect, considering how many people drive on these highways each day,” senior Neha Balaji said. “It’s important to consider how meaningful changing these names would be to African Americans in Fairfax County because social equality is a respectable goal.” 

A possible name introduced by the task force was Langston Blvd, named after John M. Langston. He was an abolitionist, attorney and the first U.S representative of color from Virginia. The county said that this name better reflects the county’s values, promotes equity, and is welcoming to all people. 

“I do believe that using historical minority names would be another successful step towards racial equality,” Biradavolu said. “Everyone deserves to live in a community that respects their heritage and continues to strive for equality.”