It’s official: U.S. 1 renamed Richmond Highway in
2019 has been a difficult start for the Commonwealth of Virginia with the past of the top three statewide officials undergoing significant and deserved scrutiny. The legacy of the Civil War, the ahistorical Lost Cause narrative and segregation remains a stain on the entire state.

There is a bit of good news though – at long last, an Alexandria thoroughfare will not be sullied by the name of the Confederate president. Prior to January 1, 2019 US 1 between Slaters Lane and Arlington County had that ignominious moniker, Jefferson Davis Highway. Now, it’s Richmond Highway, the same name the road has had in neighboring Fairfax County. Richmond, of course, was the capital of the Confederacy which has been a point of pride, despite it being rather catastrophic for the city.

As for Davis, he was:

  • a traitor
  • president of the secessionist government
  • not a well-regarded one at that
  • made no effort at reconciliation following the Southern War of Aggression

In the vanity and delusion of the Lost Cause, Davis became a hero to revisionists.

Arlington County, which would need permission from the Commonwealth to change the name due to antiquated states rights regulations is unlikely to get the name changed (, but might appears eager to try. Sadly, my business card has that name on it – at work we discussed eliminating the address in part to get rid of the Davis name.

As a long-time Alexandria resident (and someone who grew up in the pro-Union Vienna, Va.) I’m pleased this this small, but significant step away from celebrating failure, treason and hate. There is still work to do, in Alexandria (Alexandria City Government) and the rest of the Commonwealth.

Photo by Beth Richardson, used with permission

Author: WFY

Yet another Washingtonian pushing the ubiquitous Nats/DC sports, Penn State, commuting, bicycling, kayaking, broomball, skiing, gin & tonic agenda.

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