Petition calls for removing Confederate leader's name from DC-area road

Petition calls for removing Confederate leader's name from DC-area road
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An online petition is calling for renaming a street named for Confederate leader Jefferson Davis in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. 

The petition, on the website Change.org, is urging officials to rename the stretch of road in Arlington, Va. that is near Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in the wake of efforts around the country to remove the Confederate flag and other images that are associated with the losing side of the Civil War. 

"Jefferson Davis was hailed as the 'champion of a slave society' when he was selected in 1861 to become President of the Confederate States of America," says the petition, which is directed at Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D). 

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"Davis was an unrepentant white supremacist who fervently believed the Southern cause, slavery and segregation were right and just until his last dying breath in 1889," the petition continues. "It is therefore outrageous that a major Virginia thoroughfare, Jefferson Davis Highway (aka Route 1) which abuts the Pentagon and other US Capital landmarks continues to bear the name of a morally depraved, non-Virginian who rejected the very idea of a United States." 

The petition had just over 3,500 signatures as of 4:10 p.m. on Monday.

The placement of images and people who are associated with the Confederacy has become controversial in recent weeks after a shooting in Charleston, S.C. at a historic black church that killed nine. 

State lawmakers in South Carolina voted to remove the Confederate flag from its capitol grounds after pictures surfaced showing the suspect, Dylann Roof, displaying the flag prior to the shooting.

Roof allegedly told police that he was targeting African-Americans and hoped to spark a race war.  

The organizers of the Change.org petition said "it's time for the Commonwealth of Virginia, to remove the name of this Confederate leader from all sections of Route 1 in Virginia. 

"Virginia is a state that prides itself on its diversity, technological innovation, leadership in education and progress," the petition says. 

"The name Jefferson Davis is far from what the state should honor. Let's stop indulging the race haters who named the road after their race hating hero. Let’s change the image of this important roadway from hatred and rename it to memorialize hope and progress."