Thousands Petition To Rename 'Racist' Lynchburg, Ignore That the Founder Was an Abolitionist


After violence and riots ravaged the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, politically correct activists have come forward to continue their crusade to rewrite history.

Monuments and other pieces of American history deemed to be racist have been defaced and destroyed, and now, thousands are petitioning to have the name of a city changed for the same reason.

An online petition titled “Change the name of the city of Lynchburg, VA,” has garnered over 3,000 signatures in hopes of altering the city’s name. According to the petition, the name “Lynchburg” is ripe with “violent, racist, and horrifying connotations.”

There’s one big problem with that line of reasoning — Lynchburg was named after John Lynch, a famous abolitionist.

Daisy Howard, the creator of the petition, argues that rather than promoting education on the history of the city and its founder, the name should be erased altogether.

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“I understand it was named after a man named John Lynch, but why do we insist on explaining that when people react to its name poorly (understandably so)?” Howard wrote in the description. “Why do we insist on defending it? We understand the power in the word. We need to erase the power that word holds over the connotation to our city.”

The petition fails to mention that Lynch freed all of his own slaves and was an anti-slavery advocate throughout his lifetime.

“It’s not at all about the man John Lynch, or his family,” the description continued.” It’s about the word ‘LYNCH,’ and when others outside of our town, who don’t know the history, see it on a map, or on a piece of paper, or on a screen in 2020, their only reference to the word ‘LYNCH’ can be quite negative causing them to assume the worst.”

That logic is completely flawed. Demanding that Lynchburg be renamed for that reason would be like saying Batman should be renamed because he doesn’t play baseball.

Should Lynchburg be renamed?

In reality, the history of the word lynch is much more complicated.

Dorothy Potter, PhD, and Clifton Potter, PhD, spoke with The Western Journal via email about the complicated history of the Lynch family. Both academics are former history professors at the University of Lynchburg and co-wrote a book titled “Lynchburg: A City Set on Seven Hills.”

The experts confirmed the fact that John Lynch was a staunch supporter of the abolitionist movement.

“[E]vents of the … time of the so-called ‘lynching’ are rather complicated. It involves two locations and three members of the same Irish Quaker family — two brothers and a sister. The sister, Sarah Lynch Terrell led the abolitionist movement among the local Quakers/Society of Friends. Many, like her brother John Lynch, who ran a ferry service across the James River, freed their slaves,” the professors wrote.

“John and Sarah’s older brother, Charles Lynch, Jr. had been disowned from the local Quaker meeting for a variety of offenses, including joining the American army. He rose to the rank of Colonel. In 1780, with local Tories very active in central Virginia, Charles, Col William Preston, Col. James Calloway, and Captain Robert Adams, Jr. organized a militia which captured a group of British sympathizers and took them to Charles Lynch’s home Green Level in Campbell County.”

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It was there, according to the professors, where the practice of lynching was born.

“There they were interrogated, judged, and some tied to a tree and whipped,” they explained. “If they would cry ‘Liberty Forever,’ the whipping was to stop.  Since this happened on Lynch’s farm, the punishment became known as ‘Lynch’s Law.'”

If the city is indeed renamed, the colloquial understanding of the word “lynch” will remain while the memory of John Lynch and the noble actions of many members of the Lynch family will fade away.

Although the act of lynching should be remembered and condemned for its savagery, it shouldn’t come at the cost of honoring those who fought for true equality.

The recent violence after George Floyd’s death has provided plenty of examples of politically correct liberals proudly displaying their ignorance of history.

On Wednesday, Antifa rioters defaced the statue of Matthias Baldwin in Philadelphia with the words “colonizer” and “murderer,” according to Ian Miles Cheong of Human Events.

But, Cheong wrote, “Baldwin fought against slavery, fought for black voting rights, and built schools for black children.”

Additionally, Elijah Schaffer, a reporter for Blaze TV, tweeted a picture of the defaced statue of John Greenleaf Whittier on Sunday.

Whittier, like John Lynch, was a prominent Quaker abolitionist.

In the countless attempts to erase American history in the past few weeks, rioters have done far more than supposedly attempt to excise the worst parts of America’s past — they’ve unintentionally effaced the many heroes who fought so hard for the freedoms we all enjoy today and the equality they seem too blind to see.

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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