“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” –Representative John Lewis
I am both a child of the South and a public educator. As such, I grew up seeing and then subsequently working in and with schools named after Confederate military and political leaders. Over my 53 years, I have progressed though being oblivious to these names (child), not caring about these names (young adult), being embarrassed about these names (adult), to understanding and recognizing the toxic effect of these names (middle-aged adult).
I hear the arguments that the names of these schools reflect our history and so they must remain, no matter how much they abase a community, or how painful and demeaning our fellow citizens find them.
I disagree with those arguments.
However, for those who do not, I propose a compromise. If keeping our schools named after robert e. lee, jefferson davis, and their ilk is important so we remember our history, we should embrace this fully. We can do this by keeping the school names but changing the school mascots to more accurately communicate the true history of these men who stood against the United States. I propose the following.
The despicable jefferson davis traitors
The turncoat robert e. lee losers
As a school leader, I can see how school names with this level of historical accuracy could have a detrimental impact on school morale. So, for those citizens who have an affinity for memorializing U.S. History of the 1860’s. I suggest the following solution. Swap the names of the traitors and losers for the names of Patriots and Winners.
Existing davis schools should be renamed as Lincoln schools. I would be proud to be the Principal of The Righteous Lincoln Liberators.
Existing lee schools should be renamed as Grant schools. A student body of Brave Grant Generals or Marching Grant Warriors would be up to any challenge.
As for my fellow Southerners who wax nostalgic about their great, great, granddaddy who fought for the CSA, in my family we too have distant relatives who were scoundrels and criminals. We just don’t continue to celebrate and revere their misdeeds.