Georgia has earned a dubious No. 1 in a recent report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As part of an update to its Whose Heritage? database, the SPLC revealed the Peach State leads in the nation as the state with the most schools named after Confederate leaders. In addition, it also found an additional 100 schools whose names honored public figures with racist and or controversial connections.
Today there are 45 public schools throughout Georgia that honor Confederate figures, and 35 are located in counties with Confederate namesakes. In total, 300 schools have this shortcoming. Southern states Texas and Alabama trail Georgia with 40 and 22 schools, respectively. The organization tallies 198 such schools that have no plans to change their names, and at least 80 of those schools were named after a county or town that honors a Confederate leader.
“Six schools in Georgia are named after Confederate politicians — five them named after Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Furthermore, “Four of these Jeff Davis schools are in Hazlehurst, the county seat of Jeff Davis County. The fifth one is in Trenton. The city of Atlanta has the sixth school, Joseph E. Brown Middle School, whose student body is 97 percent black.”
“This state is filled with worthy Georgians whose names schools would be proud to carry. But at least 45 of Georgia’s public schools stand firmly on the wrong side of history, elevating men who fought to keep the U.S. divided,” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement. “Adding insult to injury, many of these namesake schools are located in communities serving a majority of People of Color, honoring men that denied them an equal education. What lessons does this teach our children?”
She said the fight to get schools to disconnect from their dark past will continue. “While we call on all 198 schools honoring Confederates to change their names, we will continue to call on the Cobb County School Board to listen to student activists leading this charge,” Brooks said.
Furthermore, three states also stand out for having far more monuments than their peers, Georgia comes in with 114, Virginia is close behind with 110, and North Carolina at 97. Check out the complete list of names here.