Actress Julianne Moore has thrown her celebrity name behind an effort to rid her old high school of its Confederate ties.
Moore, along with Hollywood producer Bruce Cohen, launched a Change.org petition to change the name of their high school, which honors Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart.
We have been friends since 8th grade in Fairfax County, Virginia, and attended J.E.B. Stuart High School. When our school was founded in 1959, it was named after Stuart, a Confederate General, to protest the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling that ended the segregation of public schools.
Today, this school is attended by a diverse group of students who should not have to attend a school that bears the name of a man who fought to keep African Americans enslaved. So we’re calling on the Fairfax County School Board to rename it Thurgood Marshall High School. Not only was Marshall the first African American Supreme Court Justice and a civil rights leader, he was our neighbor and a member of our community.
When we were at J.E.B. Stuart in the late ’70’s, the school symbol was Stuart riding a horse and waving the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag was at the center of our basketball court and on our athletic letter jackets and wasn’t removed until 2001–but the symbol of Stuart on a horse waving a flag (now solid blue) remains. No one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended and the history of racism it represents, as we and so many alumni of Stuart have felt the need to do our whole lives.
This summer has been filled with efforts similar to Moore’s and Cohen’s.
This battle over the Confederate flag reached a tipping point in June, after the shooting in Charleston, S.C. The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, had appeared frequently in photographs with Confederate flags.
The petition has reached nearly 30,000 signatures.