Houston Matters

Should Houston Schools Named After Confederate Figures Change Their Names?

Earlier this year, HISD unveiled new mascots at four district schools, as part of a policy banning mascots deemed culturally offensive. But it’s not just mascots that can offend some Houstonians. Some question whether schools here should be named after figures from Confederate history – examples include Lee High School, named after General Robert E. Lee. […]

Earlier this year, HISD unveiled new mascots at four district schools, as part of a policy banning mascots deemed culturally offensive. But it’s not just mascots that can offend some Houstonians. Some question whether schools here should be named after figures from Confederate history – examples include Lee High School, named after General Robert E. Lee. Davis High School is named for the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis.

It’s an issue a school board in Jacksonville, Florida, faced, changing Nathan Bedford Forrest High – named for a Confederate general and early KKK leader – to what is now called, simply, Westside High School.

We discuss the history of Confederate names and symbols in Greater Houston, and consider if some schools named after such figures should be re-named. We also consider whether putting someone’s name on a public building amounts to an endorsement of that person’s life or legacy? And we contemplate if such name changes are culturally sensitive, or political correctness run amok.

MORE ON THIS ISSUE:

Jerry Patterson, Texas Land Commissioner: Confederate License Plates Honor History (Houston Chronicle, July 17, 2014)

Student Noah Horwitz speaking to HISD about renaming schools that are named after members of the Confederacy:

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