(Updated at 10:30 a.m. on June 24. A previous version of the story said that Maury was a slave owner.)
A new effort is underway to rename Matthew Maury Elementary School in Alexandria.
Matthew Fontaine Maury is considered a father of oceanography, but the Virginian was also a special agent for the Confederacy during the Civil War and tried to found a new colony in Mexico after the Union defeated the southern rebellion.
“The name seems so arbitrary,”said Glenn Klaus, who is leading the effort and has two children who attended the school. “He had nothing to do with Alexandria. Yes, he was a Virginian, but it just seems inappropriate in this day and age.”
Maury was also the first Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory and the first Hydrographer of the U.S. Navy. He also has a statue in Richmond.
“I find it insulting for the school to be named after him, especially since the majority of students there are black” Klauss said.
Klaus was inspired to rename the school after residents sent a petition to the School Board to begin a renaming process for T.C. Williams High School.
More than 170 people signed that petition, including Del. Charniele Herring, Del. Mark Levine, City Councilman Canek Aguirre, Councilman John Taylor Chapman and Councilman Mo Seifeldein.
“T.C. Williams was an arch-segregationist who did everything in his power to segregate Alexandria’s black students from its white students,” says the petition to the board. “He was against everything for which our high school, our school system, and our community stand. It is not only unacceptable that Alexandria ever honored Williams by naming our only high school for him, but it is reprehensible that nothing has been done to change it. It is long past time to remove the name of a known racist, arch-segregationist from our city’s high school.”
Photo via ACPS
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA