Hampton NAACP: Strip Va. schools of Confederate names

The Hampton branch of the NAACP and other local groups held a rally Sunday to support the name change at the Jefferson Davis Middle School. They also want a new name for the Campus at Lee, which is named after Gen. Robert E. Lee.

HAMPTON, Va.(WVEC) -- Sunday afternoon's warm weather did not hamper a gathering in the parking lot of Jefferson Davis Middle School in Hampton. 

Hampton Branch NAACP President Gaylene Kanoyton organized the rally to rename the school; Jefferson Davis was the President of the Confederacy, and Kanoyton believed his name goes hand-in-hand with several things that are negative in American history.

"Slavery, hatred, yes slavery, hatred and separation, segregation  and everything that goes along with segregation," stated Kanoyton. 

The Hampton NAACP President added that according to Hampton School Board policy, Jefferson Davis does not fit the criteria to have a school named after him.

"'Elementary and middle schools will be named in honor of persons who have rendered outstanding service to mankind, their state and or their country.' That's in black and white, and certainly, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee do not fit this criteria," said Kanoyton as she read the Hampton School Board policy for naming and renaming a school. 

Steve Brown recalled attending the school in the 1970s.

"To show how ignorant you can be about your history as youngsters, as young African Americans, we did not know about the history of Jefferson Davis. Had we known it was steeped upon racism, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, I think our position would have been different marching down Victoria Boulevard!" exclaimed Brown.

State Senator Mamie Locke criticized people who revise history to their own liking, and she also chimed in on why felt the school should not be named after Jefferson Davis.

"Not the history of those who committed treason against the United States of America!" said Locke as the crowd clapped. 

People who attended the rally also mentioned renaming the Campus at Lee, which is another facility in Hampton; it is named after Confederate Robert E. Lee. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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