SPLC Challenges More Than 100 U.S. Schools Honoring Confederate Leaders to Change the Name
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Today, as we continue to remember and honor the memory of Heather Heyer and her stand against white supremacy at the deadly Unite the Right Rally in 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) releases new data updating the number of schools glorifying Confederate leaders.
After learning that nine Black people were killed during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C. by a gunman that was radicalized by white supremacist websites, the SPLC began to catalogue all of the Confederate symbols in public spaces across the country.
Over 300 schools are currently listed in SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report, which tracks symbols of the Confederacy across the United States. In collecting this data, the SPLC recently found 100 additional schools glorifying Confederate leaders scattered across the country. The majority of these additions are in the South. And, at least 80 of these schools were named after a county or town that honors a Confederate leader.
- Whose Heritage? lists 198 schools named after Confederate leaders as “live.”
- The states with the most live schools are Georgia (45), Texas (40) and Alabama (22).
- Eighty-five (85) schools have closed or been renamed.
- Twenty-one (21) schools have committed to changing their names but have not yet done so.
- Texas (6), South Carolina (4) and Virginia (3) are procrastinating.
View a complete list of the schools named after Confederate leaders here.
View a video recording of the August 12 Whose Heritage? School Renaming press briefing here.
To learn about the history of Confederate symbols, visit the SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report.
The following statement is from SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks:
“Currently, we’ve identified the names of Confederate leaders displayed on 198 American public schools. This does not include imagery glorifying the Confederacy located on and around school property in the form of monuments, statues, plaques, markers, and street names. Nor does it include a curriculum that instills the false, revisionist history that the Civil War was fought for anything other than preserving chattel slavery and ensuring that Blacks remain uneducated. Simply put, this is unacceptable.
“School districts that continue supporting the Confederacy must reexamine the message being conveyed to students, staff and the communities they serve who are directly affected by the pain and oppression these names and images represent. Further, educators can’t seriously be expected to teach students that being openly racist is wrong or be expected to learn in buildings branded for proslavery men who proudly dehumanized human beings for personal and economic gain.
“There is a real difference between acknowledging factual, historical events and promoting the false Lost Cause narrative. Today, we once again call on the 21 schools that committed to changing their names within the last year to do what they said they were going to do.
“We also call on the other 198 schools that still bear the names of Confederates to put the needs of students and communities first by renaming their schools after someone all Americans can be proud of. Removing namesakes that celebrate a revisionist Confederate past does not erase history, it corrects it.”