Hoping to erase some of California’s public homages to the Confederacy, state lawmakers voted Tuesday to outlaw the naming of schools and public buildings after Southern leaders from the Civil War.
The legislation, which now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, came in the wake of a deadly attack in South Carolina on June 17, when a gunman shot and killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston. A white supremacist manifesto was linked to the suspect, and photos showed him proudly holding the Confederate battle flag.
The incident prompted states and communities across the nation to examine the appropriateness of preserving Confederate symbols, long objected to by many black Americans as relics of Southern slavery.
California’s proposal “shines the light” on the practice of naming buildings in a way that celebrates “traitorous leaders” who “attempted to break our nation in two to continue to enslave black people,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda).