Approved at the November 9, 2020 membership meeting.
Resolution to Remove the Name Maury from Maury Island and Vashon-Maury Island
Whereas, the 34th Legislative District jurisdiction contains Maury Island, named after the treasonous William Lewis Maury (“WL Maury”); and
Whereas, WL Maury was born in Virginia and became a Midshipman in the U.S. Navy in 1829, and served in the U.S. Exploring Expedition under Charles Wilkes from 1838-1842. During this expedition’s survey of Puget Sound, Wilkes named Maury Island after WL Maury; and
Whereas, when the American Civil War began, WL Maury resigned his commission with the U.S. Navy and joined the Confederate States Navy, commanded by his cousin Matthew Fontaine Maury, where WL Maury was assigned to the Confederate Torpedo Service, and as Commander of the warship CSS Georgia, a commercial raider, he captured and sank several Union ships carrying war materials, in armed open rebellion against the United States; and
Whereas, the Black Lives Matter (“BLM”) movement has focused attention on the removal of Confederate statues and memorials, including in Seattle; and
Whereas, in 1986, the King County Council approved a motion to rename the County to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. (the name previously honored a slaveholder), but because the state charters counties, the legislature had to authorize the name change which took 8 years to pass, and then signed into law in 2005 by Governor Christine Gregoire; and
Whereas, in 2002, the marker bearing the name of Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway (US 99) was removed in Blaine, Washington; and
Whereas, in 2017, Clark County, WA removed the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway Marker from the Historic Registry of Clark County, which resides now on private property along I-5; and
Whereas, in 2020, the United Confederate Veterans Memorial in Lakeside Cemetery erected in 1926 by the Seattle Chapter of United Daughters of the Confederacy, was torn down by BLM supporters; and
Whereas, his cousin, Matthew Fontaine Maury, commander of the Confederate States Navy, a pall bearer to Robert E. Lee, with a statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia, which was removed on July 2, 2020 by order of Richmond’s mayor; and
Whereas, there continues to be public concern regarding the name of our own state due to the slaveholding of George Washington; and
Whereas, the enormous efforts of retired Senator Sharon Nelson, Preserve Our Islands, Dow Constantine, and many other citizens of Vashon-Maury Island to reclaim Maury Island for future generations, from corporate greed and the environmental exploitation by a mining company, the island deserves a name worthy of its beauty, and of that effort; and
Whereas, this island is ancestral land lived on by many others before the colonizing of Euro-Americans, we do not presume to suggest a new name as the voices of many constituencies, with more standing than the writers of this resolution, should be heard; and
Whereas, Democratic Party organizations all over the country are striving to be more inclusive of BIPOC and LGBTQ persons, the 34th District Democrats can begin our own work right here at home.
Therefore, we respectfully submit this resolution to the 34th District Democrats, to urge Democrats who are residents of the 34th Legislative District, especially those from Vashon-Maury Island, to establish a working group to evaluate removing the traitor’s name from the Islands.
Submitted and authored by Marcee Stone-Vekich, former Chair of the 34th District Democrats, and member Max Vekich