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To see the complicated legacy of Confederate symbolism in the United States, you need only look at the roads on which we travel. In addition to monuments and schools, we get from place to place on such roads as Jefferson Davis Highway (US-1 in Virginia) and Calhoun Memorial Highway (US-123) in South Carolina.
The map below shows the sheer number of roads that take their names from Confederate history. We included 25 prominent generals and politician John C. Calhoun, who died in 1850 but was such an influence and symbol in the South that his face graced Confederate currency.
Note: States that were not yet states during the Civil War are not included.
Generals included: Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, PGT Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, Jubal Early, Richard Ewell, Nathan Bedford Forrest, A.P. Hill, John B. Hood, Wade Hampton, Joseph E. Johnston, Joseph Brevard Kershaw, James Longstreet, Robert E. Rodes, JEB Stuart, Earl Van Dorn, Raphael Semmes, Nathan G. Evans, George Pickett, Matthew Fontaine Maury, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Mosby, Bill Anderson, Joseph Johnston.
Searches that may result in too many inaccurate matches were not used, so while some generals were searched with just their last name (for example, Kershaw), we did not do this for common last names (Lee, Davis, Jackson, Forrest, Anderson, Johnston, Longstreet and Evans). In Wisconsin, last name matches for Calhoun and Pickett were removed because of G.W. Calhoun, a co-founder of the Green Bay Packers, and James G. Pickett, a settler of the state.
Most streets shown here are named after generals, but many roads all across the United States are named for Calhoun, who served as the seventh vice president, the secretary of war under James Monroe, the secretary of state under John Tyler, a state legislator in South Carolina and a representative and senator in Congress. Calhoun, who famously argued in 1837 that slavery was “instead of an evil, a good — a positive good,” owned a plantation with slaves. His home eventually became the site of Clemson University.
We matched street names from OpenStreetMap, an open-source platform built by developers around the world who contribute and maintain the map data. OpenStreetMap isn’t 100 percent accurate, and the map below is a simple name match, so there may be streets not represented here or streets that are named after a Beauregard other than Gen. PGT Beauregard, for example.
To get roads named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, we searched “Robert E. Lee” and “Robert E Lee” and “Robert Lee” — not just “Lee,” which we thought would turn up false positives.
If you see a road missing from the map or a road incorrectly attributed, contact us at ajam-interactive@aljazeera[dot]net, and we will make changes.
Many Confederate memorials stand near seats of political power: county courthouses and the grounds of state Capitols. If they had been on battlefields or cemeteries (as countless others are), they would have been relegated to a receding past and seen as solely commemorative. Instead, these monoliths have served for decades as an unambiguous statement by a ruling class that, although defeated militarily, would never capitulate.