Residents at school council meeting defend slavery in the debate over the renaming of Robert E. Lee High
Residents of a Florida school board shockedly defended slavery in a debate over the renaming of Robert E. Lee High School.
The Duval County school board has proposed dropping the Confederate general’s name from the school in Jacksonville, CNN reported
Board member Warren Jones wrote in the council’s proposal: ‘We should be in the process of renaming all the schools named after a Confederate soldier. This effort can help heal a broken city. ‘
But at a public meeting to discuss the renaming, some public commentators cracked down on the motion and appeared to be defending slavery in America.
A man in the audience said: “It says in the Bible that Jesus himself never condemned slavery. He even said that slaves have a duty to obey their master. ‘
Video shows alumni and others making controversial comments at the meeting.
The Duval County School Board has proposed changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida
The name of Robert E. Lee, the general in command of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, still evokes racism in the US.
One woman said: “I was taught that the chiefs in Africa sold their people into slavery. If it hadn’t, there wouldn’t have been slaves anywhere in America … So don’t blame Robert E. Lee. Maybe you should go after your ancestors. ‘
Another commentator said, “Communism is slowly destroying a nation by removing all icons, such as Aunt Jemima’s face from the pancake mix, Civil War images, and other things like historical school names.”
Another wondered aloud, “If this high school has problems, how long has it been predominantly African American?”
Their comments were criticized by others in the public, and online after images of recent rallies by student organization EVAC Movement were posted on Twitter.
Robert E. Lee High School Senior Class President Deyona Burton, who is black, told the audience that she understands “the connection, the bond, the family and the heritage that you believe are embodied in the name.”
“If the name is so blatantly disrespectful that you choose to downplay the gruesome actions under that general, that flag,” Burton said. I humbly ask that the name calling on both sides stop. That we look at history objectively and honestly, that we make room for change. ‘
School senior Chris St. Louis said the video comments made him “feel uncomfortable and disgusted,” First Coast News reported
St. Louis and other supporters of the name change said the names of the high school and others in the district are symbols of racism. The ongoing discussion about renaming the schools is a difficult but necessary process, they said.
Residents and students attended meetings to discuss the proposed name change of Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida
A white woman at one of the meetings condemned the comments of some other members of the community.
“I heard a lot of racist stuff when I got up because I think some of you good people thought I was one of you, but I’m not,” she said. So I’m here to say this all makes a difference. You speak from your white culture and your white self. And I ask you, take a deep breath. ‘
Another speaker, a white male, said the name was offensive to students of non-white ethnicities.
“The name Lee, linked to slavery anyway, is an insult to all students of color seeking an education here,” he said. It clearly undermines their self-esteem and dignity by making it clear to everyone that they are descendants of second-class citizens. From this follows the implication that they too are second-class citizens. It is difficult to imagine a more demoralizing tone for students who want to excel. ‘
Robert E. Lee Principal Timothy Feagins and Duval County School Board Chair Elizabeth Andersen and Vice Chair Darryl Willie have been contacted for comment by DailyMail.com.
A spokesperson for the Duval County schools responded on behalf of the board and district inspector Diana Greene: [Greene’s] advice to the school board, after which the school board will elaborate on this as a formal action point. I’m pretty sure all of our board members will have a lot to say on this topic when it comes to them for formal action. ‘
One commentator opposed to changing the name of the school claimed: “The Bible says that Jesus himself never condemned slavery. He even said that slaves have a duty to obey their master ‘
Another commenter said, “If this high school has problems, how long has it been predominantly African American?”
A Twitter message demanded school board and department officials about their views regarding a school name change and racist comments made against the proposal
Pupils as young as primary school are given the opportunity to vote on possible new names for schools in the neighborhood during the school day outside of school hours.
The affected schools in the Duval County system are JEB Stuart Middle, Jefferson Davis Middle, Joseph Finegan Elementary, Kirby-Smith Middle, and Stonewall Jackson Elementary.
Others who can vote until the end of March include residents living in the school’s presence zone, members of the Parent Teacher Association or School Advisory Council, the school’s faculty and staff, and alumni.
The results of the voting process do not determine the new name of the school, but the superintendent and the school board intend to take the survey into account.
A final decision is expected in June.
The Duval County school board is expected to make a decision on the name change in June
Last month, school leaders in San Francisco put the renaming of 44 schools on hold after coming under fire for prioritizing the issue over reopenings and using Wikipedia as a reference point to determine which names were racist.
In a statement, President Gabriela López acknowledged discussions about the re-branding of the institutions named after figures like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were “ distracting ” and “ mistakes have been made. ”
The board first came under fire last month when it emerged that committee members allegedly used references from Wikipedia and other non-scientific sources to determine which personalities were racist and problematic.
López, 30, said on Sunday: “We are scrapping the renaming of committee meetings for now. We will review our plans to continue a more deliberative process, also involving historians from nearby universities to help. ‘
Parents and residents were concerned when it turned out that historians had not been consulted by the renaming committee.
Instead, it has now been proven that several quotes used in the debate are factually false, including a false claim that American poet James Russell Lowell did not want black people to vote and that Paul Revere’s military activities were linked to ‘the conquest. of the Penobscot Indians’. ‘.