Actress Julianne Moore traveled plenty as a child thanks to her father’s military career and spent a few years in the Virginia hamlet known as Falls Church.
Now, the Oscar winner is focusing on her old Virginia high school to right what she sees as a serious wrong: A school’s name.
Moore, along with fellow alum and movie producer Bruce Cohen, is leading the charge to rename J.E.B. Stuart High School, named after the Confederate Civil War general.
“We name our buildings, monuments, and parks after exalted and heroic individuals as a way to honor them, and inspire ourselves to do better and reach for more in our own lives,” Moore said in a statement to the Washington Post. “It is reprehensible to me that in this day and age (that) a school should carry and celebrate the name of a person who fought for the enslavement of other human beings. I think the students of this school deserve better than that moniker.”
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The star, who played former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a scathing TV movie, threw her support behind a Change.org petition to spark the name change. It has more than 29,000 signatures so far. Moore suggests a new name, Thurgood Marshall High School, in honor of the first black Supreme Court Justice.
The actress, a big supporter of Barack Obama during both his presidential campaigns, has weighed in on many political issues. She’s pro-abortion (and serves on the board of advocates for Planned Parenthood), pro-gun control and pro-gay marriage (but, as an atheist, is anti-God).
Moore dislikes Stuart, who served as a major general and cavalry commander of the Confederate States of America and was known as the Southern force’s “eyes and ears” for his reconnaissance skills. He volunteered to serve the Confederacy at the start of the war, declaring his allegiance to the South. He was hailed for his charisma and energy by his fellow soldiers and oversaw major victories for the Confederacy.
The name change request comes on the heels of several Confederate-related developments in pop culture after June’s race-based murder of nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.:
- New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick suggested the classic movie “Gone with the Wind” should be pulled from public consideration due to its embrace of the old South.
- “Dukes of Hazzard,” the beloved action series from the 1970s, was yanked from TV Land’s schedule earlier this year because the Duke boys’ ’69 Dodge Charger features the Confederate flag. No one complained about the show’s content or characters, though. Show alum Ben Jones, who played “Cooter” on the series, blasted the move. “Our beloved symbol is now being attacked in a wave of political correctness that is unprecedented in our nation of free speech and free expression,” Jones wrote at the time.
- Amazon pulled nonfiction author Michael Dreese’s historical book “This Flag Never Goes Down” from its cyber listings a month after a racially motivated shooting in South Carolina. Dreese’s work involves the Civil War and the battle flags on each side of the conflict.