ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — The “Jefferson Davis Highway” signs were taken down in Arlington County on Thursday, and replaced with new signs to reflect a new name: Richmond Highway.
This decision follows a long debate over whether the highway in Arlington should be named after the president of the confederacy. The county won their petition to the Commonwealth Transportation Board to rename the highway.
The chair of the County Board, Christian Dorsey, says the new name is a better representation of what the county stands for. Jefferson Davis was the name given to Route 1 in 1922. Davis had no connection to Northern Virginia what so ever – neither born nor raised in the area.
Dorsey says the original implementation of the sign was an adversarial effort to re-impost white supremacy within the geographic south.
“It wasn’t something Arlingtonians asked for,” said Dorsey. “It was something that was imposed on them.
It wasn’t until recently that the Arlington County Board compelled the authorizing powers to make the name change actually happen. Nearly 100 years later, the county was able to decide what it’s roads are called – with a more accurate representation of the values Arlington County stands for, says Dorsey.
“When we think about Jefferson Davis not really having a connection to Northern Virginia and thereby representing white supremacy, the perpetuation of slavery, and racism in it’s most violent and virulent form, that really has no place as something to be honored in our community. “