Loudoun Supervisors Launch Changes to Roads Named for Confederates, Segregationists

After a county review of public facilities in Loudoun honoring racist figures and symbols identified 16 public roads, county supervisors have voted to start the process of coming up with new names for them.

Loudoun County supervisors in December asked the county staff members to inventory county and state owned facilities named for Confederate and segregationist figures. At the same meeting, they began wheels turning to rename Rt. 7 and Rt. 50 where they honor lawmaker Harry Byrd, known for leading “massive resistance” to integration in Virginia, and Confederate cavalry commander John Mosby. In May, they followed up by setting out a process for coming up with and recommending new names for those highways.

The scope of the inventory of other racist symbols was limited to things the Board of Supervisors has authority to rename, or influence in renaming. The list now includes Confederate Court near Lucketts, Fort Johnston Road near Leesburg, Jeb Stuart Road in Philomont, and near Round Hill, Hampton Road, Early Avenue, Jackson Avenue, Lee Drive, Longstreet Avenue and Pickett Road, all in the Hillwood Estates subdivision. It also includes the signs marking the Mosby Heritage Area in Loudoun.

The county board can change the names of those roads at its discretion. In the case of Rt. 50 and Rt. 7, that authority lies with the Commonwealth Transportation Board, and for the Mosby Heritage Area signs, with the Virginia Department of Transportation. The former Mosby Heritage Area Association, a conservation and preservation group in the area, has already changed its name to the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area.

More roads could also remain; the report notes it does not include names whose origin is unclear—such as several roads named Lee in Sterling Park, which could refer to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, or could refer to other Lees.

And county staff members also volunteered one more name which they said was not in the scope of the report but which is worth noting: Kephart Bridge Landing, named for George Kephart, who owned both Coton and Belmont plantations for a period of time. Born in 1795 and dying in 1870, he became wealthy working in the slave trade, both for one of the largest slave trading companies in the country and as the owner of slave pens and a slave ship traveling between Alexandria and New Orleans, according to the report.

Supervisor Caleb A. Kershner (R-Catoctin) wondered if there was more to know about the people who led a war for slavery against the United States.

“Has the Heritage Commission or staff determined what the actual views of each of these individuals specifically were, per se?” Kerhsner asked. “Specifically the generals, just because they have an association with the Confederacy?”

County Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) had already done that research, pointing to examples such as Wade Hampton’s paramilitary Red Shirts after the Civil War.

“The term ‘because they happened to have Confederate history is a little like, ‘other than that, Mr. Lincoln, how was the play?’” Randall said. “Happening to have Confederate history means they were on the side that wanted to keep people enslaved. That’s what the Confederacy was and in the end, that’s what the Civil War was.”

“They did in fact secede from the Union, they are seditionist and traitors, and there’s np way we should be honoring or naming roads, buildings or having signs about them,” said Supervisor Juli E. Briskman (D-Algonkian).

“What message do we send to African Americans by having so many things named after Confederates and segregationists? What message does it send to our Latino, Asian and Native American populations that Loudoun gives such honor to white supremacists?” said Vice Chairman Koran T. Saines (D-Sterling). “The argument often is made that these people simply represented their time, but if that were the case, they would not have had to fight for slavery,  or fight for segregation. The reason they had to do this is because plenty of people at that time thought slavery and Jim Crow were despicable. It was wrong then and it is wrong now. Why on Earth are we debating whether they should be honored in 2021?”

Supervisors voted 8-0-1 to develop a work plan and public process for coming up with new names for those roads, Supervisor Tony R. Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) absent, and 7-1-1 to come up with cost estimates to hiring consultants to research the provenance of names where it is unclear.

10 thoughts on “Loudoun Supervisors Launch Changes to Roads Named for Confederates, Segregationists

  • 2021-07-07 at 7:40 am

    I’m Ok with taking down 100 plus year old statues, updating WW2 plaques and renaming roads but what I am not OK with is the lack of a stated list of priorities by this BOS. Where does reducing the property tax rate to the average paid in Virginia or the execution of the promise to widen Route 15 north of Leesburg yet to have ANY meaningful progress as the bumper to bumper environment is now back as Covid fears recede? Where is the responsibility to steward our tax dollars as none of the BOS even blinked with the School Board spending all last year’s budget of $1.4 Billion even though schools and associated costs like diesel were obviously not spent? Are we supposed to just sit back and watch this highly partisan agenda continue to roll out instead of an appropriate, professional management of the County? Do we now only have accountability once every four years?

    • 2021-07-07 at 12:09 pm

      Mr. O, You’ve been around long enough to know the kook squad at Harrison Street doesn’t care about our tax money, or if citizens avoid roads so they don’t have to waste more hours of their lives in traffic.
      It’s not about us. It’s about them. They can barley contain the thinly veiled contempt they hold for tax payers.

      What’s important to them is feeling smug at the next Metro Area Council of Grifters cocktail reception. They can tell each other how transformative and edgy they are. Roll their eyes at stories of the smelly taxpayers complaints, and cackle amongst themselves at the distractions (such as this endeavor) to keep the people divided on meaningless issues, while they loot the county treasury for their own radical pet project agenda.

      That’s all this is about

    • 2021-07-07 at 1:46 pm

      “Are we supposed to just sit back and watch this highly partisan agenda continue to roll out instead of an appropriate, professional management of the County?”

      Bob, that’s how Democrats roll.

    • 2021-07-07 at 9:48 pm

      Bob all great questions. You should run for office, again.

  • 2021-07-07 at 9:17 am

    Can you at least sell the names of the roads, such as FedEx Field. I don’t mind driving on Route 50 – United Airlines Parkway if it doesn’t cost tax dollars.

  • 2021-07-07 at 9:42 am

    This should be on the next election ballot, with the cost to taxpayers.

  • 2021-07-07 at 10:22 am

    Most of the names they want to change, I had no idea they were named after confederates and I’m going to guess that the overwhelming percentage of the population has zero connotation between the place name and the confederacy. Changing the names is an unneeded expense that is going to cause confusion traveling, which translates to wasting the time of people trying to drive and deliver items in the future.

    Another grandstanding move by our Democrat Board. Vote for Republicans and get the County to start solving real problems.

  • 2021-07-07 at 12:53 pm

    I’m NOT Ok with taking down 100 plus year old statues, updating WW2 plaques and renaming roads. it was a WW1 plaque and the soldiers were grouped with their units not color of skin. The units back then were all black or white, if they were alive they would be proud to be grouped with their brothers in arms.
    Confederates were known for audacity and doing more with less resources something the BoS does not do as they throw money at every problem and act like they are vendors with taxpayer dollars.
    Roads are the pervue of VDOT, when locals get involved we get the Silver line, 3 years late and counting.
    ADU’s at a cost to every taxpayer, again they act sanctimonious but at what price?
    A world class education system reduced to rubbish under false pretenses at exorbitant cost to the taxpayer, see Randall and the six members of the School Board Cabal. Just look at how many teachers are teaching the children and then the bloat that is admin!
    They cancelled July 4th last year but were going to do a march for George Floyd on the 5th, a career criminal mind you but a hero to race baiters, social justice warriors, BLM and democrats everywhere whose rallying cry is defund the police, yikes!
    The BoS wants to take over Dr. Goodfriends operation away from the state saying the salaries are not equal, why pay more if you do not have to, political power, just like a police force instead of a voter accountable sheriff. Thank you, thank you very much!

  • 2021-07-07 at 5:30 pm

    It would be nice if this Board focused on issues that actually help Loudoun families, like get the schools open, hold school board accountable for pathetic test scores and wasteful spending, get some roads open, and stop approving special exceptions that build build build homes everywhere creating the traffic…public safety would be nice too, since I am noticing many more violent crimes happening in Loudoun lately…

  • 2021-07-07 at 8:10 pm

    This is what our BOS prioritizes- road names. This is absolute nonsense and more virtue signaling from a group that has no idea what they are doing. This BOS needs to go!

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