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WINCHESTER — Jubal Early is not going anywhere, at least for the time being.

City Council on Tuesday tabled talks about renaming Jubal Early Drive, saying it needs more time to consider the ramifications.

“What we’re trying to do here is reactive, and I don’t think it’s appropriate,” Councilor Bill Wiley said. “I think we’re going down a road and we don’t know where it will stop.”

Jubal Early Drive, Winchester’s east-west corridor that opened in 1991, has recently come under fire because its namesake, Confederate Civil War Gen. Jubal Early, was a supporter of white supremacy. His post-war defense of the Confederacy’s principles, including slave ownership, inspired what became known as the Lost Cause movement, which romanticized the Confederacy and portrayed Early as a noble defender of the Shenandoah Valley.

National protests against systemic racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in Minneapolis, led many Americans to re-evaluate their opinions of Confederate commanders, including Early.

Today, there are 80 businesses on Jubal Early Drive that would have to change their signage, marketing materials, letterhead, business cards and more if council selects a new name for the street. No homeowners would be affected because no Winchester residences have a Jubal Early Drive address.

Staff with the city’s Development Services Department recently spoke with 36 business owners on Jubal Early Drive, and 28 of them said it would cost anywhere from $2,000 to upwards of $30,000 to update materials with a new street address. The remaining eight business owners said the costs would be either inconsequential or less than $2,000.

Councilors said it would be unfair to place an extra financial burden on any of the Jubal Early Drive businesses during a global coronavirus pandemic that has caused many firms to lose revenue.

“I definitely want to see something done,” Councilor Kim Herbstritt said, but noted it will take more time for council to determine the best long-term solution.

Councilor Judy McKiernan suggested tabling the subject “until we have weathered this COVID storm,” then involving the public to determine if a majority of citizens want Jubal Early Drive to have a new name.

Councilor John Willingham said McKiernan’s comment constituted a formal motion, which he quickly seconded. That brought council’s discussion to an end and brought McKiernan’s motion to the floor for a vote.

Council voted 7-2 to table its discussions regarding Jubal Early Drive. Evan Clark and Bill Wiley opposed the measure, but did not explain why.

If Jubal Early Drive is renamed, area residents have already suggested numerous alternatives. The name with the most public support so far is Hunter Edwards Drive, which would honor a 30-year-old Winchester Police Department officer who died in a single-vehicle crash on Jubal Early Drive on Nov. 24, 2018, while responding to a call.

On July 16, Winchester Police Chief John R. Piper submitted a letter to City Council encouraging the street to be renamed in memory of Edwards. Every member of his department signed the document.

Attending Tuesday night’s City Council work session, which was held via videoconference, were Mayor and council President David Smith, Vice Mayor John Hill, Vice President Evan Clark and members Kim Herbstritt, Corey Sullivan, John Willingham, Les Veach, Judy McKiernan and Bill Wiley.

— Contact Brian Brehm at bbrehm@winchesterstar.com

(16) comments

Journey2goremtns1

@Bryan.the.nuri - journey2goremtns1. FBI calls that a clue!

Journey2goremtns1

Here we go again Jason is calling members of city council 30 years ago racist. I guess that makes the rest of us living in Winchester 30 years ago racist since we didn't protest against it. Do you expect us to get down on our knees and beg you to forgive us for being born from Confederate ancestors! Not a chance Rambo! I personally knew everyone on council back then and your remarks are disgusting! Were you a good soldier? If so, do Winchester a favor join again and deploy away from Winchester....

Bryan.the.Nuri

Do you even live in Winchester? If you are too afraid to use your real name, what kind of integrity does that show on your part?

Jason Murray

The council has chosen to delay by stating this is about money. Fair enough as we do have a pandemic going on. If however, the alleged money barrier is removed and Covid has passed, then we will know it's really only about white supremacy for anyone still opposed. Suffice it to say, that this snowflake, as I am sometimes labeled, didn't melt in Iraq nor Afghanistan and doesn't plan on melting now.

Also, I know that I get a lot of direct association with this effort since I created the initial petition, but for the record, I am only one of many citizens who independently asked the council to rename the street. Its not only one person that was denied here but, the actual SILENT MAJORITY of folks who live in Winchester, that weighed in clearly against white supremacy. I can only hope they vote with that same integrity and commitment in November and let this be one of many issues that guides their choices.

Lastly, if nothing else, no one can deny that they don't know who Jubal Early was now ... nor that as little as 30 years ago, we had a sufficiently racist local government that they named a prominent street for him. At the very least, this effort has raised awareness as to how many racists still live among us and how far we have to go yet to end the influence wielded by the persistent (but dwindling) peddlers of advocacy for white supremacy.

Sooner or later Racist Early Blvd will be renamed.

~Jason.

PS: On that note, I need to say one more time how proud I am of the local Police Department for taking a stand. Thank You for all that you do. We may yet have the street renamed for someone actually worthy of veneration so please keep the faith!

Dadof3

Given the status of Covid-19, I think this is a prudent move by council. While I am not opposed to the name change, I am concerned about the cost to businesses, especially during a pandemic. As a person who supports and encourage citizen's participation in government, I certainly hope Mr. Murrey (Please forgive if I misspelled your name) continues with his project until a final decision is made.

Journey2goremtns1

@Shinyhappy - It's another part of American history. Winchester history dates back long before the civil war. If you think it's bad or good it's history! I bet most if not all black, white and Hispanic kids in Winchester don't give a hoot about the street name. Their to busy being kids socializing with their friends on Facebook. It's the adults who started this movement of erasing history they didn't agree with. Their MO is to shame and call people racist if they don't agree with them. I guess I should have just said Radical Leftist Socialist.

shinyhappypeople

How very brave of the council, 160 plus years after the end of the civil war, to make this call. It really is too soon. Wouldnt want you to rush into any decision about whether it was appropriate- in the 90’s or ever- to name a street in the city after a racist like Early. This should be easy to explain to the kids....most especially the Black children who call Winchester home. Sprinkles are for winners, but apparently racist losers get all the sprinkles their sundae will hold. Truly shameful to punt this down the road, and to use the pandemic as your cover. But the Rebel flag crowd can sleep better at night knowing the council will support the status quo, and what’s more important than “herItage” and the feeling they get when they drive through town and see the name of a racist segregationist boldly displayed on a major road supported by the tax dollars of hard working minorities and all other people of Winchester. Bravo you brave souls.

Conservative

Awww, poor widdle snowflake didn't get his way. Go cry to your momma.

Bryan.the.Nuri

Can we cry to yours?

Whistle Dixie

VERY pleased with Councilor Judy McKiernan's suggestion to delay the possible renaming of Jubal Early Drive. Also very pleased that the motion was approved by the Council.

In the meantime, it might be prudent to contact some of the Jubal Early museums to learn more about Early's life and why each of those museums exist. Clearly, these museums are not anti-black, supremacist museums that flaunt "pro slavery" as is being said of Winchester and anyone who disproves of a street name change.

Bryan.the.Nuri

What Jubal Early museums?

Journey2goremtns1

Thank you Winchester City Council.

Robina5

Council has made a wise decision.

slowe

Than it shall come to be called: Slavery Blvd. Or WHite Pride Avenue, or Jim Crow Lane, or Avenue of the Oppressors. Justice delayed is justice denied. Change the dame. And, take down that statue!

Blondie

slowe, nobody cares what you think. Go back to sleep.

Bryan.the.Nuri

@Conservative, what is your obsession with Thai "ladyboys"?

I guess this is why you hide in cowardice.

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