FALLS CHURCH, Va., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- Actress Julianne Moore and movie producer Bruce Cohen called for school officials to change the name of their old high school in Virginia, which honors a slain Confederate general.
The two -- friends since 8th grade -- started a Change.org petition seeking to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church. Stuart was a Confederate general and Virginia native who was killed during the Civil War.
"When our school was founded in 1959, it was named after Stuart, a Confederate General, to protest the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling that ended the segregation of public schools," the petition says. "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."
Moore and Cohen said the school should instead be named after the first African-American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, who is also from the area.
"When we were at J.E.B. Stuart in the late '70's, the school symbol was Stuart riding a horse and waving the Confederate flag. The Confederate flag was at the center of our basketball court and on our athletic letter jackets and wasn't removed until 2001 -- but the symbol of Stuart on a horse waving a flag (now solid blue) remains. No one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended and the history of racism it represents, as we and so many alumni of Stuart have felt the need to do our whole lives," the petition reads.
As of Monday evening, the petition had 28,000 signers.