Getting a proper education is one of the most vital parts of human life, but how can you be expected to focus on academics when your institution of learning is named after someone who fought against equal education for all?
That’s the unfortunate predicament that many Southern students find themselves in after the Southern Poverty Law Center recently discovered Georgia to have 45 public schools named after Confederate leaders, the most for any US. state.
Making matters worse, majority of these poorly-named schools are located in communities of color. Based off the SPLC’s original report, Texas and Alabama aren’t too far behind with 40 and 22, respectively. In total, 198 active schools were revealed in the organization’s Whose Heritage? database as being named after Confederate leaders, at least 80 of those in a county or town that’s also named after one.
Here’s a quote from the statement released by SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks that attempts to call this out as a nationwide issue as opposed to just putting all the blame on Georgia:
“Georgia is not the only state elevating the names of proslavery men on our important buildings and institutions. School districts across the United States need to not only eliminate the revisionist racist propaganda used throughout their curricula, but also remove any and all imagery glorifying the Confederacy located on and around school property in the form of monuments, statues, plaques, markers, mascots, and street names.
While we call on all 198 schools honoring Confederates to change their names, we will continue to call on the Cobb County School Board to listen to student activists leading this charge. This board needs to take a hard, honest look at the Wheeler Name Change group’s research proposal which factually details the harms the Confederacy continues to inflict upon not only Black students, but all Wheeler high school students.”
Although change is surely needed within our country’s educational system, the report did bring back a bit of good news. A promising number of 85 schools honoring Confederate leaders have either been closed or renamed completely, and 17 schools have at least committed to changing their names although no action has occurred yet.
Read the full SPLC report by clicking here, and let us know your thoughts on how to go about making this change happen across America.
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