The Alexandria (VA) City Council has voted unanimously to ban the Confederate Flag. While the boyhood home of Robert E. Lee is located in the heart of Alexandria, the Confederate Flag will no longer be raised on Lee’s birthday and Confederate Memorial Day. Even more important, the city council created a citizens committee to consider renaming 33 streets in the city that are named after Confederate military leaders as well as one public elementary school. During the 19 years I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, nine of those years I lived in Alexandria. Alexandria, Arlington and most of Northern Virginia is as different from the rest of Virginia as Mississippi is from California. Alexandria is a very liberal city. In almost any way, politically, it would be comparable to living in Boston, New York City or San Francisco. One of the two main thoroughfares running through the middle of Alexandria is named Jeff Davis Highway (U.S. Hwy. 1). I should remember to mention that a portrait of Robert E. Lee hangs in the Alexandria council chamber. If the city council decides to change the name of Jeff Davis Highway, 32 other streets in the city and the elementary school that are named after Confederate leaders, it is not far from what the mayor of New Orleans wants to do. Mitch Landrieu wants to tear down one of the historic landmarks in that city – the 60 foot high column and statue of Robert E. Lee that is known as Lee Circle on another historic street, St. Charles Avenue. If the Mississippi Legislature or another statewide vote is held to change the state flag, it is reasonable to ask what might come next. There are a lot of other things in Mississippi for those who are offended by anything having to do with the Confederate States of America and the Civil War:
+ Jefferson Davis County is named for guess who?
+ Lee County, where Tupelo is located, was named after General Lee.
+ Forrest County where Hattiesburg and the University of Southern Mississippi are located, was named after Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Besides being one of the CSA’s great cavalry leaders, after the war Forrest was an original member of the Ku Klux Klan.
+ The first president of Mississippi University was renowned Confederate Gen. Stephen D. Lee. A historic building on the MSU campus is Lee Hall. It currently is the building that houses the office of MSU President Mark Keenum and other MSU administrators.