Richmond dedicates Barack Obama Elementary School, formerly named for Confederate commander

During Friday’s dedication ceremony, the students appeared pretty happy with the...
During Friday’s dedication ceremony, the students appeared pretty happy with the change of their school's name. (Source: NBC12)(WHSV)
Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 2:10 PM EST
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Richmond Public Schools held a dedication ceremony for Barack Obama Elementary School on Friday.

The Richmond School Board

to rename J.E.B Stuart Elementary for Barack Obama.

J.E.B. Stuart was a prominent Confederate cavalry commander and a slave-owner. A committee was created to lead discussions on a name change, five public input sessions were held, and an online survey was conducted before a decision was ultimately made.

And during Friday’s ceremony, the students appeared pretty happy with the choice.

Barack Obama Elementary School was one of seven names the School Board considered at its meeting to rename the school, which was the only remaining Confederate-named school in the former capital of the Confederacy.

Other suggestions included names like Northside, Wishtree, John Adams, Jackie Robinson, Oliver Hill, Barbara Johns, Albert Norrell, and Henry Marsh.

Many - both school leaders and the public - said that it was about time to make the change at the school, which is 95 percent African American.

“Students deserve the school to be named after someone they can relate to,” one woman said during a public meeting about the renaming.

John B. King Jr., the 10th U.S. Secretary of Education for President Barack Obama, was a special guest at Friday’s ceremony, joined by Mayor Levar Stoney and Superintendent Jason Kamras.

During the dedication ceremony, King Jr. began the event by reading to students and delivering the keynote speech.

The cost of the school's name change was originally estimated at about $26,000.


The Associated Press contributed to this article.