MS school named after Jefferson Davis to be renamed after Barack Obama

Getty Image

Getty Image

More than a dozen schools have been named after Obama across the country, but as Education Week reported in January, most are primarily black and Latino, urban, and on the coasts.

The school appears to be the first named after Obama in MS, and one of the first in the South in general. Instead, they'll attend one named after America's first black commander-in-chief: Barack Obama.

A Jackson elementary school will change its name from one that honors Confederate leader Jefferson Davis (left) to one that honors former President Barack Obama.

"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", Davis Magnet IB PTA President Janelle Jefferson said to the board.

School buildings must be named "for persons of good character and prominence who have made outstanding contributions to the school system", according to the school board's facility-naming policy. Critics of the school names and statues say they are accolades to the region's racist past, while supporters assert they represent history and should be preserved.

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"We really wanted to know what they thought", Jefferson said.

The name change comes as leaders of the school district in Mississippi's capital city are reconsidering Confederate names on three campuses. The public school's enrollment in 2017 showed 98 percent of black students, with an overall enrollment of 97 percent black students.

It's unknown how expensive the name change will be, she said.

Students from each class were able to give presentations on the name they most preferred. It had previously been named a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and consistently receives "A" ratings from the Mississippi Department of Education, Jefferson told McClatchy.

Interim board president Camille Stutts-Simms said she approved of the change and described it as a "monumentous move".

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