Hampton School Board votes to rename Jefferson Davis Middle School

HAMPTON, Va. - The Hampton School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to rename Jefferson Davis Middle School.

Thee school will be renamed Cesar Tarrant Middle School, taking the name of the nearby elementary school that closed in 2015. Tarrant was a slave who operated as a river pilot during the American Revolution. He died in Hampton in 1797.

The board held its first public hearing regarding the removal of Confederate names from Campus Lee and Jefferson Davis Middle School in October. It voted to rename Campus at Lee in December.

Hampton's debate over Confederate school names picked up following the violence in Charlottesville in August 2017.

"I suggested in December that my colleagues consider using the name of a school that is no longer in existence," said Hampton School Board Member Phyllis Henry. "Cesar Tarrant was our most recent school closure, and it is in the neighborhood of Jefferson Davis Middle School."

The Hampton chapter of the NAACP and the Peninsula chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference said schools honoring confederate leaders represent hate, segregation, slavery, and the KKK. During the meeting, Kanoyton said the two schools' names did not meet the school board's policy of being named after people who have shown outstanding service to mankind and their community.

Both organizations have been trying to get the names changed for more than a year. Last year, the school board voted unanimously against changing the names.

Davis Middle School will take its new name in September.

Related:

Hampton City Schools to rename Campus at Lee 

First public hearing held for Hampton’s Confederate named schools 

Hampton City Schools sets public hearings for possible renaming of two schools

SCLC files lawsuit against Hampton City Schools

NAACP Hampton Chapter hosts unity rally to drop the names of Confederate leaders from schools