Democrat Jefferson Davis once served as President of the Confederacy during the Civil War, which makes him a political hot potato in today’s social climate. That means he is being scrubbed from public display, including having his name erased from a number of schools that have him as a namesake.
At one Mississippi school bearing his name, however, the choice for his replacement on the school name-plaque is causing just as much controversy.
The Jefferson Davis School in Jackson, Mississippi, is dropping the confederate leader for a choice that looks to make a statement about race relations in America today. The school will be renamed for former President Barack Obama for the next school year.
According to Janelle Jefferson, the Davis Magnet School PTA president, it’s a change the Confederate president himself might have endorsed.
“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Jefferson told the Jackson Public School Board of Trustees on Tuesday, reported The Clarion-Ledger.
A demographic breakdown by SchoolDigger.com identifies 95 percent of the K-5 school’s 2017 student body as African-American.
President Obama was one of several nominees that students, parents, and staff voted for as a replacement. Jefferson said students wanted “to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”
She also said “We really wanted to know what they thought. They could relate to Barack Obama because of his achievements, because he looks like them.”