City May Scrap Law Requiring Confederate Street Names

Alexandria, Virginia, rethinks old rule
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 14, 2014 5:09 PM CST
City May Scrap Law Requiring Confederate Street Names
This file photo shows a statue of a Confederate soldier at an intersection in Alexandria, Va.   (Linda Spillers)

Alexandria, a city in northern Virginia steeped in Civil War history, is considering repeal of an old law requiring new streets to be named for Confederate generals. A City Councilman has introduced legislation to do away with a 1963 law requiring that any new "streets running in a generally north-south direction shall, insofar as possible, bear the names of confederate military leaders." The bill also would eliminate a requirement that new east-west streets be named for persons or places prominent in American history.

As a practical matter, there is little likelihood that the city will be naming new streets any time soon. The city, inside Washington's Capital Beltway and separated from the nation's capital by the Potomac River, is essentially built out. But councilman Justin Wilson said that symbolically, he believes it's a good thing to strip from the code a provision that in some ways glorifies the Confederacy. He also he made clear he is not proposing that the city change existing street names. (More McLean stories.)

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