Kanawha Board to replace Confederate name on middle school

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia school board that recently voted to remove the name of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson from a middle school is set to discuss new names for the building.

The Kanawha County Board of Education could decide on a new name at its meeting Thursday, news outlets reported.

The board voted unanimously on July 6 to remove Jackson’s name following a growing push from the community. The Charleston school has the state’s highest percentage of Black students, according to the West Virginia Department of Education.

Shortly after the vote, the school district launched an online survey that allowed community members to suggest names. Some had said they wanted the school named after a prominent Black West Virginian, and two were among the five names that received the most votes: pioneering NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and educator Booker T. Washington, who once lived in West Virginia.

The others were Jack Perry, an athletics coach at the school who died in 2018, along with West Side Middle School and Charleston Middle School, The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

An independently-organized online petition also drew more than 6,500 signatures calling for the school to be renamed for Johnson.

“I feel like we’ve heard from a lot of people, and I also feel like we’re ready for a vote and I feel like there’s so much more we need to work on,” school board president Becky Jordon said.

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