A committee appointed by the San Francisco school board has moved to strip the “problematic” names from 44 schools in the city, including one named for Abraham Lincoln.
The decision: The School Names Advisory Committee is collecting alternative names for a third of the city’s schools whose namesakes were allegedly involved in colonization, genocide, slavery, queer oppression, worker exploitation, or racism, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Monday.
- “Uprooting the problematic names and symbols that currently clutter buildings, streets, throughout the city is a worthy endeavor,” committee chairman and first-grade teacher Jeremiah Jeffries told the outlet.
- According to the committee, the necessity of renaming Abraham Lincoln High School was so clear-cut in advance that it was not even discussed during their meetings.
- “The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” Jeffries said. “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.”
By the committee’s standards, the federal government’s treatment of Native Americans under the Great Emancipator outweighed ending slavery and saving the Union.
The background: San Francisco’s school board established the panel in May 2018 in order to consider “the relevance” and “appropriateness” of names that honor historical figures.
- Other figures deemed potentially problematic included George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who reportedly replaced a vandalized Confederate flag in front of San Francisco’s city hall while serving as mayor in 1986.
- According to the Chronicle, the name of farm labor organizer and Chicano activist Cesar Chavez has not been recommended for removal, despite his having called illegal immigrants “wetbacks” and used his workers to beat them back at the border.
The school board is expected to vote on the recommendations in January.
- “Some of us have been telling you this day would come for years. It was never going to end with Confederate generals,” tweeted Daily Wire editor Matt Walsh about the San Francisco committee’s decision, referencing a campaign to rename military bases named after Civil War generals.
- President Donald Trump, a longtime critic of political correctness, also weighed in.
- “So ridiculous and unfair. Will people never make a stand!” he tweeted on Wednesday.