Roads honoring Confederate generals to be renamed in Virginia's most populous county

A task force in Virginia’s most populous county voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to rename two highways that are named after Confederate generals. 

A Confederate Names Task Force established by Fairfax County voted 20-6 in favor of changing the name of Lee Highway and 19-6 to change what Lee Jackson Memorial Highway is called, WTOP reported.

The task force will discuss what to rename the roads at its next meeting on Dec. 13. Residents have already come up with a number of suggestions.

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WJLA reported the task force received 30,000 responses to a survey on alternative highway name suggestions.

But despite the community response to the survey, a larger number of residents voted in favor of keeping the roads' current names, according to WJLA. About 16,000 people voted to change the names, while 23,500 were opposed in the community survey, according to the ABC affiliate.

The renaming of roads has been part of a larger racial reckoning across the United States. A number of jurisdictions, responding to massive social justice protests in 2020, have opted to rename or remove landmarks or statues that honor Confederate figures.

Several Confederate statues in Richmond and Charlottesville have been removed this year in Virginia alone. 

However, there is still debate over what role such artifacts should play. Some conservatives have claimed that removal of statues and renaming of areas is erasing American history, while those in favor of the changes argue history can be preserved in a different way.