School Dumps Confederate Name in Favor of Barack Obama

Several elementary and high schools in the south are named after Confederate leaders, but some of them are working to change that.

An elementary school in Jackson, Mississippi, has decided to change its name from Davis International Baccalaureate Elementary School, in honor of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, to Barack Obama Magnet International Baccalaureate Elementary School, in honor of our 44th President.

The move comes after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, has brought Confederate symbols under increasing scrutiny. Around the U.S., people have been calling on local and state governments to remove statues of the generals and leaders of the Confederacy.

The name change for this Jackson school, which will take effect for the 2018-2019 school year, makes it the 22nd school to honor either Barack or Michelle Obama, or the couple.

Janelle Jefferson, president of the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), pointed out that the new name makes complete sense for a school population that is 98 percent black.

“Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him,” Jefferson said.

A Washington Post analysis discovered that at least 138 U.S. schools are named after Confederate figures. Three of these are in the Jackson Public School District; In addition to Davis, there’s Lee Elementary School, named for General Robert E. Lee, and George Elementary School, honoring James Zachariah George, a colonel who signed the state’s secession papers.

The school district is currently reviewing these two schools also.

For the past several years, the students at Davis IB Elementary have received an ‘A’ grade from the state’s education department.

They are also grassroots activists. After a parent petitioned the school board to request a name change, the board decided to hand name-changing authority over to the local PTA.

Working with the school administration, the PTA asked students to suggest new names and each classroom voted on the candidates and chose a representative to lobby for their choice at a school wide assembly on October 4.

The following day, students, parents and other community members voted for their choice, using paper ballots.

“We mirrored the national, state and local election process as closely as we could,” said Kathleen Grimsby, the school principal. “They got a civics lesson on what it means to be able to vote. At the end of the day that is what matters: One student can make a difference.”

What a fantastic lesson for these young students! 

The Confederacy fought to maintain white supremacy and slavery in the U.S., and as a country we should not be honoring these ideals in any way. We also should not necessarily destroy them. We need to learn from our history, rather than pretend it never happened. But we can put those statues, flags and other monuments in museums to be examined, and not honor white supremacy by keeping them outdoors in public places.

Care2 believes we should name our schools, colleges and other buildings after positive leaders, not after those who fought for white supremacy and slavery.

If you have a school or a building or some other monument with a Confederate name, why not push to change that name, as this Mississippi school did? You could start by creating a Care2 petition, using these guidelines, and soon you’ll find Care2 members signing up to support you.

 

Photo Credit: Jason Means

144 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Lesa D
Lesa D7 months ago

thank you Judy...

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Just Human
Just H7 months ago

Excellent. The confederates were traitors.

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I9 months ago

Don't like it, Mississippi rednecks? Bite President Obama!

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Mike R
Mike R9 months ago

Great choice!!

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I9 months ago

Hooray!!!! Don't like it, Republicans? Bite "the Smart Party," which includes President Obama!

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Sophie M
Past Member 9 months ago

Good.

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Kathryn I
Kathryn I9 months ago

So proud of this name change, especially within this ignorant/backward State of Mississippi!!! The angrier this makes the racist Republicans, the better I like it! They can either deal with it or get the Hell out of the State--nothing would be missed.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E9 months ago

@ Karen S
I couldn't agree with you more !!
It's the GOP BOTS trying to get out of trump's swamp.

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Karen S
Karen Swenson9 months ago

OOhhh---The sewage Trump Rats are coming out in force! @Lou H--stop your hysterical ridiculous screaming! @Kyle N--No one knows sewage like Trump--he wallows in it like the corrupt PIG he is. My how you Republicans squealed in protest when Heir Strumpet tried to take Obama care away from your sorry sick asses! You Republicans are the welfare queens of the United States and are too gigantically ignorant to even know that FACT! Instead you insanely vote against your pathetic best interests and bite the very hand that cares enough to feed you! You belong to the 'STUPID PARTY" alright!

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