The district of Sully in Fairfax County retains its name
After months of debate over whether to change the name of the Sully District in Fairfax County, Virginia, the County Board of Supervisors decided not to go ahead with a change.
The name “Sully” comes from the name of a plantation site that was located in the area in the late 1700s. According to the county, four generations were enslaved and trafficked on the Sully plantation.
“I received emails and had conversations with members of the community,” said supervisor Kathy Smith, who represents the district. “As you can imagine, I’ve heard different views on the name change.”
A redistricting advisory committee recommended that supervisors change the name.
Ultimately, Smith said “the best step forward right now is to keep the Sully District name.”
A name change would have impacted the 139,000 county residents who live in the district.
Smith said a better idea would be to educate residents and visitors about the area’s complicated history and the plantation itself, which is in Chantilly.
“This site has a 225-year-old house, 128 acres of parkland, gardens, outbuildings and slave quarters,” Smith said.
In June, the county council voted to change the name of Lee District, which is named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Supervisors said the district should instead be known as the district of Franconia.
The council also voted in September to change the names of the Lee and Lee-Jackson freeways to Route 29 and Route 50, respectively.
Council Chairman Jeff McKay said changing highway names “would remove these divisive relics of the past, names that were given to these roads not to honor history or individuals, but to celebrate parts of our history that have inflicted great pain on members of our community. .”
More than 200 signs bearing those Confederate names will need to be replaced, and county staff estimated the cost of doing so would be about $1.4 million.
The decision impacts businesses and residences along the highways, and the council needs more time “to develop and implement a program that would provide financial assistance to those directly affected,” according to the county.