LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — As the push among some in the community to change the name of Lynchburg continues, we’re learning more about what exactly that would take.
Lynchburg is named after John Lynch, a Quaker and an abolitionist. However, for many, it just sounds too close to the hate crime of lynching, which is commonly believed to gets its name from John’s brother, Charles Lynch.
WFXR News spoke with Lynchburg’s city attorney Walter Erwin, who says the name is spelled out in the city’s charter, which is granted by the General Assembly. The City Council would have to ask the General Assembly to vote on a new name.
Ultimately, Erwin says, it would need public support.
“On the one hand, John Lynch was an abolitionist, and I think that kind of is in contrast to the reasons why people want to change the name,” said Jessica Salvatore, a downtown Lynchburg resident. “On the other hand, it’s embarrassing. Words have meaning. The meaning of that word right now has become very painful.”
Erwin says there are two ways the City Council could get public input before requesting a name change from the General Assembly.
The first is with a public hearing. The second is with a referendum on the November ballot. The deadline to get that on the ballot is Aug. 14, according to Lynchburg’s General Registrar.
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