Op Ed: Jefferson Davis highway should not change name
By LYDIA EISENBERG
The city of Fredericksburg is an incredibly historic town. Established in 1728 by the General Assembly, the city has played key roles in multiple wars including the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It would almost be a crime to deny this town of its history. Changing the name of the Jefferson Davis Highway would be the start of a downward spiral of sugar coating the facts of this city; that Fredericksburg was and is a true southern town.
Although Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy as well as a slave owner, this issue needs to be put into perspective. Many other people of the time owned slaves. Mary Washington, for whom this university is named after owned a few slaves in her lifetime as well as her son George Washington. Where is the line to be drawn? If the Jefferson Davis Highway is to be renamed, by these standards the university should be renamed as well.
Many argue that the road should be renamed because it represents the Confederacy and “with that representation comes the oppression of other ethnicities and divisiveness in our country”. This view contradicts itself in the fact that it suppresses the views of a certain ethnicity; of those who believed slavery to be morally right. Others argue that “Jefferson Davis does not represent the core values of the Fredericksburg and Mary Washington community.”
What are the said “core values” of Fredericksburg and Mary Washington? To deny a city’s history while forcing one close-minded opinion on the drivers on Jefferson Davis Highway. It is not up to the individual to decide who is right and who is wrong and what is in the boundary of “core values” and what is not.
Jefferson Davis may have been a slave owner and president of the Confederacy but at least he stood for something that he believed in, which is more to say than most people in history. Jefferson Davis Highway not only tells and reminds one of the history of this city but also reminds one to fight for what they believe to be right. People should be allowed to hear the whole truth about this city and make their own judgement of it rather than having it decided for them and hidden away in shame.