The San Francisco United School District’s School Names Advisory Committee has recommended stripping the name of former President Abraham Lincoln from a high school because he allegedly “did not show” that “black lives ever mattered” to him.
President Lincoln is among dozens of figures who the San Frrancisco school district renaming committee argues led a life filled with racism and therefore shouldn’t be on a school building, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
They’ve created a Google Sheets spreadsheet listing over 100 public schools and their frustrations with each.
The committee’s spreadsheet indicates that Lincoln’s treatment of Native Americans during his administration met the criteria to rename a school after him.
“The discussion for Lincoln centered around his treatment of First Nation peoples, because that was offered first,” chairman of the renaming committee and a first grade teacher Jeremiah Jeffries said, according to the report. “Once he met the criteria in that way, we did not belabor the point.”
Let me get this straight. Abraham Lincoln High School — named after the man who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, pushed for the 13th amendment, and saved the Union — is being renamed because he didn't demonstrate that "black lives ever mattered" to him?
This is madness. https://t.co/6VddTuyITG
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) December 15, 2020
“The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” he said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”
“Uprooting the problematic names and symbols that currently clutter buildings, streets, throughout the city is a worthy endeavor,” he noted, according to the report. “Only good can come from the public being reflective and intentional about the power of our words, names and rhetoric within our public institutions.”
A little history lesson:
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared that slaves held in the Confederate states were free, in 1862 and campaigned for the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in 1865.
…But Lincoln allegedly “did not show” that “black lives ever mattered” to him.
San Francisco Unified School District's renaming committee voted to rename Abraham Lincoln High School
Did you know:
San Francisco has more homeless drug users than students enrolled in high school
Perhaps instead of erasing history, they could address that.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) December 16, 2020
The committee has sought to rename dozens of schools, with critics saying that the process for doing so, which apparently uses Wikipedia citations or selective news sources rather than a historical records or comprehensive research approach, is amateur and a waste of money, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Others on the list include George Washington High School, named after the nation’s first president who led colonists to victory during the Revolutionary War, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Washington has been targeted for being a “slaveowner, colonizer” according to the committee’s spreadsheet.
Jefferson Elementary is also on the list, despite Thomas Jefferson’s authorship of the Declaration of Independence.
Officials from five high school alumni associations criticized the board and said they needed to consult professional historians, according to the report.
“We need an inclusive process that will allow all communities to be heard, use professional historians applying verifiable data, issue a written report why a school name might be changed, so the community can make a considered decision.”