Stonewall Jackson High School was completed in 1940 and was celebrated as the most modern school in the state of West Virginia. After nearly fifty years, the school was repurposed as a middle school following the completion of Capital High School in 1989. Recognizing the concerns of some community members, students, and parents of this school, which has the highest percentage of African American students in the state, a 2015 petition called on the school board to change the name of the school. Although Thomas "Stonewal" Jackson owned slaves and was a Confederate officer, a counter-petition to keep Jackson's name on the school received more support. The school continues to bear Jackson's name.


  • Picture of Stonewall Jackson High School in 1940 on opening day.
    Picture of Stonewall Jackson High School in 1940 on opening day.
  • Newspaper article on Stonewall Jackson High School.
    Newspaper article on Stonewall Jackson High School.

West Virginia resident Stonewall Jackson is best known for his victory in the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. During this battle, Jackson was mortally wounded by the accidental fire of his own men. When Stonewall Jackson High School was built in 1940 it was celebrated as the finest and most modern school in the state. This school cost approximately $800,000 to build and operated as a high school for 49 years. With the opening of Capital High School in 1989, this building became home to Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

Reflecting the views of most white residents and alumni to the 2015 petition to change the school's name, school board member Becky Jordon denigrated the effort as "crazy" and went so far as to suggest that the effort to change was an attempt to stir racial discord. 
“We’re lucky we don’t have these racial issues in our area, and we don’t need anyone stirring them up,” Jordon said in response to the petition. Reflecting the views of African Americans, Harvard graduate and faculty member of the historically-black West Virginia State University hoped to change the name of the school to something that would better reflect the diverse student body and the population of Charleston's West Side neighborhood. 

Nee, Emil Shaffer, and Anna Jackson Preston. “Biography of Stonewall Jackson.” Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson.

Quinn, Ryan. Kanawha school board against renaming Stonewall Middle School. Charleston Gazette-Mail. July 13, 2015. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/kanawha-school-board-against-renaming-stonewall-middle-school/article_d9152c00-1484-5d1a-abd1-bdb4b868b381.html.