The Slatest

Mississippi School Named After Jefferson Davis to be Renamed After Obama

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

A predominantly black school in Mississippi named after Confederate president Jefferson Davis is ditching its name and replacing it with Barack Obama’s.

The school stakeholders of Davis Magnet IB in Jackson, Mississippi, voted earlier this month to change the school’s name to Barack Obama Magnet IB. The change will take effect for the 2018–19 school year, according to the Clarion-Ledger.

The PTA president said Obama “fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves,” according to the newspaper. “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,” she told the Jackson Public Schools Board. The school’s student body is 98 percent black.

The school appears to be the first named after Obama in Mississippi and one of the first in the South in general. 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 article includes a fun interactive map).

Debates over confederate monuments in Mississippi flared back up during August in the aftermath of racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and some in the state called for local monuments to be removed. None were, but the Jackson Public School Board, aware it would likely be disbanded soon for unrelated reasons, as its final act delegated renaming power to three other schools in the system named after confederate leaders.