A school in Mississippi honoring Confederate leader Jefferson Davis will soon be renamed for President Barack Obama, the first black president in U.S. history.
The Clarion-Ledger reported that the school, a predominately black school called Davis Magnet IB, will lose its namesake next year, replacing it with Obama, who teachers and parents said is more fitting for the school.
PTA president Janelle Jefferson announced the decision on Tuesday night at a school board of trustees meeting, saying the school will be renamed Barack Obama Magnet IB.
“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Jefferson said to the board on Tuesday.
She said the school should be renamed “to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”
The name change comes at a time protests have erupted over removing statues of Confederate leaders, according to The Hill. The issue boiled over this summer with protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
In total, 19 schools had been named after Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, at the start of this year, which is more than any other president since Ronald Reagan, according to Education Week.https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=XWhOpKQs40k
All of the Obama-named schools are in urban and suburban areas, including three in Obama’s hometown of Chicago.
"When you look at the larger geography of naming schools, we do see a reaffirmation or reinforcement of segregated boundaries," Derek Alderman, a geographer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, told Education Week. "School names matter. It's part of our larger way that we imagine ourselves and project our identities onto places and onto people."
Obama’s name has been used for schools, motorways and libraries across the world, according to BBC. In fact, researchers named a parasite after the 44th president, calling it the Baracktrema obamai.
Lizards, fishes and mountains have all been named after Obama.