News & Politics

T.C. Williams High School Has a New Name: Alexandria City High School

Also, Matthew Maury Elementary will be renamed for educator Naomi L. Brooks

We'll update our stock photo ASAP. Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.

Alexandria’s school board voted Thursday to change the name of T.C. Williams High School to Alexandria City High School. The new name will take effect on July 1 of this year. The school’s teams’ nickname will remain the Titans, as was made famous in the remarkably inaccurate Disney film Remember the Titans.

T.C. Williams was named for Thomas Chambliss Williams, a former superintendent of Alexandria’s school system who was an avowed segregationist. A long-simmering movement to shed his name picked up speed last year during the racial reckoning that followed George Floyd’s killing by a police officer in Minneapolis. The school board vote followed a renaming process that solicited names from students (who suggested names like Anime High School or naming it for Meghan Markle, as well as some more plausible ideas) and community members. According to a city press release, “Alexandria High School” was the top choice in polls on the name, followed by Titan Community High School and Ruth Bader Ginsburg High School. The school board amended “City” to the name Thursday evening, which will allow its teams to be referred to as the “A.C. Titans.”

The board also voted to rename Matthew Maury Elementary School. Maury was a Confederate naval commander who was also a prominent oceanographer. That school will be renamed for Naomi L. Brooks, a beloved longtime Alexandria educator who died last May. The votes were unanimous in both cases. The Alexandria school system estimates it will cost $325,000 to change T.C.’s signs and uniforms and a little more than $5,000 for similar work at Maury. Both of the old names, it says, are “intrinsically linked to Alexandria’s racist past,” and school-board chair Meagan L. Alderton said in a release that “with a national spotlight on our society’s many inequities, the Board felt it was imperative to look at the morality of school names that do not fit with who we are today.”

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.