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Confederate General or First African-American Supreme Court Justice?
In 2015, it is inappropriate for Fairfax County to continue to honor a Confederate general 150 years after the Civil War by having his name attached to a diverse public high school. It is time to ask ourselves which history should we be celebrating?
The Confederacy fought against the United States of America to maintain a system of white supremacy and slavery. Instead, Fairfax County should honor long-time Falls Church resident Thurgood Marshall who, as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, was the chief architect of the legal strategy to dismantle segregation. As a result of his brilliant advocacy in Brown v. Education, the U.S. Supreme Court declared racial segregation in the schools unconstitutional. While on the Supreme Court, Justice Marshall issued numerous opinions stressing the vital importance of equal educational opportunities for all children.
Numerous students at Jeb Stuart High School have suggested a different name for their school. We have the opportunity to honor the Supreme Court Justice, who as a young lawyer fought for educational equality and won the right for all students regardless of race to receive a good education. In 1968, Justice Marshall and his wife moved to the Falls Church area in Fairfax County. He lived in the very high school area that the present JEB Stuart High School is located until he died in 1993; his wife still lives in the home they shared.
Advisory Board Member/Policy Committee Member
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