Confederate-Named Street Renaming Process Outlined for 41 Streets
Emily Leayman, Patch, May 24, 2023
With the first changeovers being considered in 2023 for streets with Confederate references, the Alexandria City Council learned on Tuesday how the renaming process will work.
City staff presented the scope of the renaming process, which involves renaming three streets per year. There are 41 streets the city has confirmed are named for Confederate soldiers.
Much of the work will be done by City Council’s three-member naming committee — Councilmembers John Taylor Chapman, Sarah Bagley and Alyia Gaskins — before full City Council consideration.
The inventory of 41 Confederate street names includes major roads like Beauregard Street, Janney’s Lane and Van Dorn Street, as well as neighborhood streets like Lee Street, Armistead Street, Calhoun Avenue and Davis Avenue. The city is researching other names like Stevenson Avenue, Reynolds Street and Hume Avenue to determine if they are associated with Confederate figures.
Dana Wedeles, the city’s strategic initiatives officer, told City Council 20 of the 41 Confederate-named streets were named in a 1953 city ordinance. The ordinance said that streets generally running in the north-south directions should be named for Confederate military leaders. That happened after the city annexed a diverse part of the West End in 1952 and before schools were desegregated with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The process will apply to the first three renamings to be considered in 2023. In September, the naming committee will discuss which three names it will prioritize for renaming first, and the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission will present recommended new names. The Historic Alexandria Resources Commission is being asked to research locations and people, especially, minority groups and women, worth recognizing with street names.
After the committee chooses the three streets for renaming and three new names, the city will open a public feedback form. Residents will be able to suggest names while providing a reason for a proposed name and proof of a community-led meeting on a proposed name.
In October, the naming committee will hold a public hearing on the renamings and encourage impacted property owners and those who suggested names to attend. The committee will then make a recommendation to the full City Council.