Julianne Moore Joins Movement to Change Name of School Honoring Confederate General

Actress attended Virginia high school named after a Confederate general.

ByABC News
August 24, 2015, 1:18 PM
Julianne Moore attends the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/2016, July 7, 2015, in Paris.
Julianne Moore attends the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/2016, July 7, 2015, in Paris.
Dominique Charriau/WireImage/Getty Images

— -- Julianne Moore is lending her voice to a growing campaign to change the name of a Virginia high school that honors Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart.

The Oscar-winning actress attended Stuart High, in Fairfax County, Virginia, from 1975 to 1977 before moving to Germany with her family.

"We name our buildings, monuments, and parks after exalted and heroic individuals as a way to honor them, and inspire ourselves to do better and reach for more in our own lives," Moore, 54, said in a statement to The Washington Post. "It is reprehensible to me that in this day and age a school should carry and celebrate the name of a person who fought for the enslavement of other human beings. I think the students of this school deserve better than that moniker."

Moore, along with Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen -- also an alumnus of the school -- started a Change.org petition that has already garnered more than 25,000 signatures. Their star power has brought new attention to the renaming effort, which was started in June by a group of Stuart students and alumni following the shooting of nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston.

Pat Hynes, chairwoman of the Fairfax County School Board, said in a statement when the issue was first raised last month, "Recent events across the country have raised important questions about the symbols we choose to represent our communities. In Fairfax, this includes the names of some of our school buildings. We recognize that there are legitimate concerns of students, parents and communities in these schools and whether those names best reflect their community. We also recognize that there are historic, legacy, and financial concerns in making changes in the names of schools. Current and former students have initiated this dialogue and we will work with our communities to hear all sides of this discussion and work collaboratively to address this issue."

Stuart High opened in 1959, amid racial tensions five years after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. Today, it is one of the most racially diverse schools in the county, with a student body that is nearly half Hispanic, 24 percent white, 14 percent Asian and 11 percent black, according to the Fairfax County Public Schools' website.

Moore and Cohen have said they want the Fairfax County School Board to rename the school after Thurgood Marshall, who represented the NAACP in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case before becoming the first black Supreme Court justice.

The "Still Alice" actress joins other Hollywood stars calling for a reexamination of Confederate symbols following the Charleston shootings.

In June, actress Aunjanue Ellis, known for her work in "Ray," "The Help" and "NCIS LA," announced that she had created a coalition to ban film production in her home state of Mississippi until the confederate flag emblem is removed from the state's flag.

Calling the state flag "a blatant symbol of oppression and inequality," Ellis also announced at a news conference that she was moving her film company, Miss Myrtis Films, to Louisiana until the flag has been changed.