Your View: Removing all reminders of oppression means going further back


By Jerry Foley, Alexandria (File photo)

The recent controversy over Confederate memorials really has made me start thinking so much about our memories that are preserved. Then I realized that here in the United States, especially the East Coast, we have so many reminders of an old regime of which we are no longer a part. Then I started asking myself, why do we continue to use these names for things that make reference to a king to which we no longer give allegiance? It is a form of repression from which we fought to free ourselves.

Now, we all should know that it was some four score and seven years before the War Between the States that the revolution freeing us from this terrible regime was fought. If we are to be removing all reminders of the Confederacy, then we first need to catch up and change all the names there are reminding us of English rule. We could start right here in Alexandria with changing the name of King Street, then Queen, Prince, Princess and Duke. Was not even Charleston, S.C. named for King Charles? Then there are several counties including royal honorifics, and how about the town of Williamsburg?

While we are there what must be addressed is the name of The College of William and Mary, the site of the famous Christopher Wren building, which I believe is the only one of his design on this side of the Atlantic. But since Wren was a “Sir” and employed by the crown, his name should be removed from this building as well.

Then, the states of Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland will have to change their names as well. New Jersey and New York are named after places in the British Isles and would be allowed to retain their names since it is obvious they wanted to be different from the motherland. Also in Virginia, the names of Cape Charles, Cape Henry and the Elizabeth River also need to be changed.

The name of Virginia is perhaps the one that is the most important to change after the source of this name has been considered. Virginia comes from Queen Elizabeth I, since she was said to be “The Virgin Queen.” Just in case someone is not aware, her father was Henry VIII, the last of the Henrys. Being that he was so wicked and murderous, why would we want to have any association with such a character? Even having a name from someone in that family is too close for comfort. Another contemporary of Henry VIII was Thomas More, but since he stood up to the king, saying that he was “God’s servant first,” this is another one which will be allowed to remain.

There are some others such as Richmond and Fairfax, but space does not allow for all to be listed here. In my hometown of Savannah, Ga., the residents were smart enough after the Revolution to change the names on their streets, such as from King to President. This may be the best place for us to start with this movement here in Virginia.