MoCo Planning Board Approves Resolution to Begin Process to Rename Three County Streets Commemorating Confederate Generals
The streets currently known as Jubal Early Court, J.E.B. Stuart Road, and J.E.B. Stuart Court are set to be renamed; Montgomery County Planning Department will consider public input on the new names to signify that all are welcome in the county
The Montgomery County Planning Board unanimously approved a resolution on Thursday, January 14, 2021 to begin a process to rename three streets identified as having full name matches with Confederate soldiers. The streets, currently known as Jubal Early Court, J.E.B. Stuart Road, and J.E.B Stuart Court, are the first to be renamed as a result of the M-NCPPC’s Street and Parks Facilities Renaming Review project, a joint effort of the Montgomery County Planning Department and Montgomery County Parks Department, both part of M-NCPPC. The streets are located in Potomac and have 65 property addresses. Montgomery Parks has already renamed J.E.B. Stuart Trail at Woodstock Equestrian Park, which was identified through this project, as the Northern Edge Trail.
The project began in June 2020 after the Montgomery County Council sent a letter to the Planning Board and the County Executive requesting “a comprehensive review of all County owned and maintained street names and public facilities to determine all those named for Confederate soldiers or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County values.” M-NCPPC is the sole entity authorized under Maryland law with naming or renaming streets in Montgomery County, except within certain independent municipalities. The Commission’s Planning Board has sole approval authority over street renaming.
“Diversity and inclusion are among Montgomery Parks and Planning’s core values, and we welcome the opportunity to reexamine street names as part of our efforts to promote racial and social justice,” said Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. “We are committed to confronting the legacy of racism and dismantling inequity, and this includes unflinching scrutiny of our own plans, policies and practices as we acknowledge and address inequities from the past and develop solutions to create more equitable outcomes in the future.”
The Planning Board’s resolution approval follows the October 1, 2020 initial briefing to the Planning Board on the street and park renaming project; the December 7, 2020 briefing to the County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee; and the January 12, 2021 briefing to the full Montgomery County Council. Councilmembers expressed support for the Commission’s approach and direction of the project and also recognized the complexity of the Commission’s historical research in finding affirmative Confederate name matches.
“The work that Montgomery Park and Planning has begun is directly in support of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Bill which seeks to advance ‘fair and just opportunities and outcomes for all people,’” said County Council President Tom Hucker. “This is complicated and important work, and we are ready to continue collaborating with M-NCPPC and our county agencies to systemically dismantle the institutional racism that exists in our county and prevent it in the future.”
The new names for the three streets impacted by today’s resolution are yet to be determined. Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright told the Planning Board that the Montgomery County Planning Department will consider input from the public on the new names to signify that all are welcome in the county. “This project aligns with Montgomery Planning’s Equity in Planning Agenda,” said Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright. “We are committed to confronting the legacy of racism and its ongoing effects and addressing issues of racial equity in all aspects of our work. This includes applying an “equity lens” to our plans, policies and practices.”
The Montgomery County Planning Department will notify all impacted residents and property owners of the initiation of the street renaming process for these three streets and of the actions residents will need to take following final street renaming, such as notifying banks, utilities, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, and relevant federal agencies. To help with possible costs these residents may incur, M-NCPPC is working with the county to explore options for providing property owners with financial resources.
M-NCPPC’s research to date has found 325 streets that have a preliminary match with the last names of Confederates and two parks that have a confirmed match with Confederate last names. M-NCPPC developed a database to conduct this research, which contains the names of a total of 709 known Confederates, including 269 that were residents of Montgomery County and 440 senior officers of the Confederate Army. It also contains the names of 5,826 local slaveholders and the names of over 3,300 enslaved individuals who were held in bondage in the County. The database is a work in progress but will be made available to the public for research and future use when historians have completed required additional work and quality control.
The Commission will continue its comprehensive review of all county-owned and maintained streets and park facilities to identify those named after Confederates or those who otherwise do not reflect Montgomery County’s values. Additional research is still required to confirm last name associations for those streets and park assets with preliminary matches to M-NCPPC’s database of names. There are Confederate or slaveholder last names in the database that may not, after research, be found to correlate with a street or park name. Examples include Walter Johnson Road, named for a famous baseball player, but which was also the name of a Confederate.
Community members can send their comments on the Street and Parks Facilities Renaming Review project by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The community input process for the renaming of Jubal Early Court, J.E.B. Stuart Road, and J.E.B Stuart Court is currently under development, and further details and outreach will be forthcoming.
Courtesy of MontgomeryPlanning.