Ty Seidule.
In a letter to the editor titled “What’s in a name? Everything, if it honors treason and slavery” in The Washington Post, Visiting Professor of History Ty Seidule emphasized that “Whom we honor reflects our values.” Seidule penned his May 17 letter in response to a Virginia School Board's decision to restore the names of Stonewall Jackson High School and Ashby Lee Elementary School, which had previously been changed during the national racial reckoning sparked by George Floyd’s killing.
“By naming schools after Jackson, Turner Ashby, and Robert E. Lee, Shenandoah County tells its children and the world that the Confederacy’s values are their values,” Seidule wrote.

He highlighted Robert E. Lee’s act of treason by breaking his oath “to obey the orders of the President” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America” when he joined the Confederate forces. Seidule also underscored the Confederacy’s commitment to preserving and expanding slavery, citing Confederacy Vice President Alexander Stephens: “Our new government … rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

Seidule also drew a connection between the naming of schools after Confederate leaders and the push to integrate schools in the 1950s, noting, “During this period, Virginia named hundreds of schools and streets after Confederates.”

As Memorial Day approaches, Seidule urged that “we should honor those who fought for the United States of America. … Rather than bestowing undeserved laurels on Confederate traitors, people in Virginia, and everywhere, we should commemorate those who, in President Abraham Lincoln’s words, ‘gave the last full measure of devotion’ to the United States.”

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