Arlington County to Rename “Lee Highway” after Black Abolitionist Congressman John M. Langston

John Mercer Langston, member of the United States House of Representatives.

An Arlington County highway named for the Confederate General Robert E. Lee may soon be renamed for John M. Langston, an abolitionist and Virginia’s first Black congressman. After a year-long process, the Arlington County Board is set to vote on the issue soon. The road was named “Lee Highway” in the 1920’s, long after the eponymous former Confederate General lived in Arlington County. The County recently renamed another highway once named for former Confederate President Jefferson Davis. John M. Langston was one of five African Americans elected to congress during the Jim Crow era, and would be one of the last Black congressmen elected from the southern United States until 1972, after the Voting Rights Act was passed.