Virginia city votes to remove Jefferson Davis' name from highway

After three years of discussion, the City Council in Alexandria, Va., voted Saturday to remove the name of Jefferson Davis from a city highway.

Jefferson Davis Highway, named for the only president of the Confederacy, will be renamed Richmond Highway, council members decided in a 6-0 vote.

The change that will take effect Jan. 1 of next year, a city news release said.

The old name offended many residents of Virginia's seventh-largest city, which has an estimated population of about 160,000 and is roughly 8 miles south of Washington D.C.

“It’s offensive. It’s offensive to those moving in, those who have been here. So, it’s time for a change,” resident Amanda Mitchell told Washington's WJLA-TV.

“It’s offensive. It’s offensive to those moving in, those who have been here. So, it’s time for a change.”

— Amanda Mitchell, resident of Alexandria, Va.

The change will reportedly cost the city $27,000 for new signage and other related expenses for the road, which is also part of U.S. Route 1.

A deadly massacre in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., kick-started the name-change process, the Washington Post reported. Nine people died in the shooting.

That shooting, and incidents such as a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year, have had many communities in the South reconsidering the legacy of the Confederacy.

Many of the communities have been removing statues of Confederate figures, or changing names of streets or buildings -- although not without objections from those who say the tributes help communicate the history of the region.

Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg, however, supported the highway name change.

“It speaks to who we are. That we are a city of kindness and compassion, a city where we’re not just tolerant but embracing and accepting where diversity is a core value,” Silberberg told WJLA-TV.

A community task force unanimously recommended the new name, “Richmond Highway,” which came from hundreds of suggestions, the Post reported.