CNN reports that Julianne Moore has launched an online petition to rename her alma mater. The actress attended J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County in the ’70s, a school that was named after a Confederate general. Moore has teamed up with producer Bruce Cohen (American Beauty), a fellow alum, to garner enough signatures to sway the minds of the Fairfax County School Board.
The petition notes that the school was named after Stuart as part of a protest against integrating the schools of Virginia after the ruling in Brown Vs. The Board Of Education. Stuart was regarded back then as a Confederate hero: He left West Point to join the Confederate Army when Virginia seceded, and he also aided in the capture of John Brown on the night of the abolitionist’s raid on Harpers Ferry.
Moore and Cohen’s petition has almost reached its goal of 35,000 signatures, and asks the school board to rename the school after Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall to reflect its current body and shake off its racist legacy:
Today, this school is attended by a diverse group of students who should not have to attend a school that bears the name of a man who fought to keep African Americans enslaved. So we’re calling on the Fairfax County School Board to rename it Thurgood Marshall High School. Not only was Marshall the first African American Supreme Court Justice and a civil rights leader, he was our neighbor and a member of our community.
The request also cites the Change.org petition that recently led to the renaming of the Nathan Bedford Forrest High School and its sports teams in Jacksonville, Florida. Forrest was a Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate general. Today the school’s population comprises mostly black students, so in 2014 the school name was changed to Westside High School, and its student athletes are now known as Wolverines.