Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dallas Public School Re-naming Issue

It's 1955 in Dallas, TX.  White supremacists dominate local and Texas politics, and one year before this the U.S. Supreme Court had the audacity to say the  Constitution does not permit racial segregation in public schools.  The school board promises to fight.  It also has a new school to name.   An excellent candidate would be a WWII soldier who died in combat and was posthumously awarded a Congressional medal of Honor.  He was born, raised and educated in Dallas.  However the school is named after a relatively obscure Confederate General with few ties to Dallas.  The General gets the nod.  The school is named for  Confederate Gen. James B. Hood. A current member of the school board writes:
"Then, one year after the Brown decision, the all-white Dallas school board decided to name a school after a general of the Confederacy with few ties to Dallas. The Dallas school board would go on to spend decades fighting to avoid desegregation.
During the same time period, Georgia resurrected the Confederate flag by changing its state flag in symbolic opposition to Brown v. Board of Education. South Carolina followed suit six years later. The following year, Alabama revived the Confederate flag, with Gov. George Wallace raising the flag as part of his “Segregation Forever” campaign.
But even if the Dallas school board in 1955 was not sending a symbolic message of opposition to desegregation by naming the school after a Confederate general, it made the wrong decision for another reason: it overlooked Dallas ISD graduate Turney W. Leonard."

Given the tenor of the times and the people involved,  there can be little doubt about why the name was chosen.  Given the tenor of the times, there is little doubt about what the battle flag was intended to symbolize--dedication to white supremacy.

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