Petition Aims to Rename Virginia’s Jefferson Davis Highway
The American Civil War may have concluded 150 years ago, but a number of tensions continue to exist to this day, exemplified by the recent debate over the Confederate flag on South Carolina’s state house grounds. Another high profile debate is also being parleyed, but this time regarding Jefferson Davis, once President of the Confederate States of America, for the use of his name in Virginia’s Jefferson Davis Highway, part of U.S. Route 1. A petition has been addressed to Virginia state governor Terry McAuliffe regarding the removal of Davis’ name from the highway and at the time of writing, the petition has received 3,755 supporters, nearing its 5,000 signature goal. Virginia attorney Daniel Zim created the petition, citing Jefferson Davis’ role in the southern states’ secession and belief in slavery. Zim writes in his petition, “It is therefore outrageous that a major Virginia thoroughfare, Jefferson Davis Highway, continues to bear the name of a morally depraved, non-Virginian who rejected the very idea of a United States.” RELATED: One Six Year Old is Petitioning to Bring Back the El Camino
Current petition signers have noted their dislike of the name and the man that it honors, though the highway has its share of supporters as well. NBC12 of Richmond, Virginia, interviewed passersby who wished to, “leave it like it is,” citing the thoroughfare’s longstanding name.
Its origins begin in 1913, when the idea of a transcontinental route was conceived stretching from Washington, D.C. to San Diego through the country’s southernmost states. The United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed the idea, in honor of Davis, and a number of local and state routes would eventually receive the Jefferson Davis Highway name. Though with the introduction of the U.S. highway numbering system in 1926, the name would remain a largely local entity, most notably in portions of U.S. Route 80 in Alabama and U.S. Route 1 in Virginia.
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Photo Credit: AA Roads
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