Virginia NAACP Condemns Shenandoah County School Board’s Decision to Name Public Schools after War Heroes of the Confederate States of America

On Thursday, May 9, 2024 the Shenandoah County School Board upheld “Lost Cause” ideals by renaming Mountain View High and Honey Run Elementary, Stonewall Jackson and Turner-Lee respectively. Confederate military leaders, Brigadier General Turner Ashby, Jr., General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and General Robert E. Lee, all fought valiantly as citizens of the Confederate States of America against the United States of America during the Civil War. They risked–and in the cases of Jackson and Ashby–lost their lives to establish a nation separate from the USA so that they could preserve and expand American Slavery.

Nearly a century after the Confederate defeat, in 1954, the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision declared that in the field of public education, separate but equal has no place. Segregationist Virginians resisted by using every legal trick imaginable to defy the desegregation mandate, including closing public schools in Warren County, Norfolk, Charlottesville and Prince Edward County because they did not want White children to learn alongside Black children. In 1959, the first year of Prince Edward’s five year public school shut down, Shenandoah County School Board named their local high school Stonewall Jackson High. Turner-Lee became the name of the elementary school in the 1970s as that was the name of a magisterial district that has since been renamed.

Seven decades have passed since the first Brown decision and all but one member of the Shenandoah County School Board reaffirmed their commitment to White supremacy with their vote to name public schools after military leaders of the Confederate States of America. When students walk through the halls of renamed Stonewall Jackson High School and Turner-Lee Elementary School, they will do so with inescapable reminders of Confederate legacies that enslaved and discriminated against African descended people. This community deserves better.

The NAACP has protested Lost Cause memorials since the turn of the twentieth century. W. E. B. DuBois, co-founder of the NAACP and editor of The Crisis in 1931 wrote “The most terrible thing about War, I am convinced, is its monuments…In the South, particularly, human ingenuity has been put to it to explain on its war monument, the Confederacy. Of course, the plain truth of the matter would be an inscription something like this: ‘Sacred to the memory of those who fought to Perpetuate Human Slavery.’” Last night, the Shenandoah County School Board voted to re-create Confederate monuments of public schools. This community deserves better.

The Virginia NAACP calls on the Shenandoah County School Board to reverse their recent decision to name public schools after men who waged war against the USA. We will use every resource at our disposal to make real the promise of the District’s mission that claims “All members of the learning community are valued and respected.” Students, parents and community members who do not share the majority of the Shenandoah County School Board’s pro-Confederate ideals are not valued and respected when forced to learn in, and pay taxes to support, Confederate memorials. This community deserves better.

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Chartered in 1935, the NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth. The Virginia NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for civil rights due to Black Virginians. Representing over 100 NAACP adult branches, youth councils, and college chapters, together, we fight to build the social and political power required to abolish racial discrimination in localities throughout Virginia. To learn more about the work of the Virginia NAACP and the issues we advocate for, visit

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