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PTA President Janelle Jefferson talks about how a student-driven initiative will change the name of the school named for the Confederacy’s only president and will instead be named for the first African-American president of the United States, Barack Obama. | AP Photo

Mississippi school honoring Jefferson Davis to be renamed for Obama

SHARE Mississippi school honoring Jefferson Davis to be renamed for Obama
SHARE Mississippi school honoring Jefferson Davis to be renamed for Obama

JACKSON, Miss. — A predominately black public school in Mississippi named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis will be stripped of that moniker next year and replaced with that of another president whose character students, parents and teachers have said is more fitting: Barack Obama.

Janelle Jefferson, president of the Davis Magnet International Baccalaureate School PTA, announced at the Jackson School Board meeting Tuesday evening that school stakeholders voted on Oct. 5 to rename the school for former President Obama.

“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,” she told the board.

A demographic breakdown of Davis Magnet’s enrollment for 2017 shows 98 percent of the school’s students are black.

Overall, the Jackson Public School district’s enrollment is 97 percent black.

Jefferson said the school community wanted to rename the campus “to reflect a person who fully represents ideals and public stances consistent with what we want our children to believe about themselves.”

“I wholeheartedly agree with the name,” School Board President Camille Simms said.

The school board in Septemberdelegated its naming authority to PTA groups at three schools — Davis Magnet, George Elementary and Lee Elementary, all named after Confederate leaders.

The Jackson School District is likely to be taken over by the state Board of Education, eliminating the Jackson school board.

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