It was only Confederate statues they said. We only need to erase that era from public view they said. They lied and the march to erase our forebears from the public sphere continues. From Dallas News:
Dallas ISD is researching the histories of Ben Franklin, Sam Houston, Thomas Jefferson and 17 other historical figures, looking into whether their connections with slavery or the Confederacy should prompt reconsideration of their names on DISD campuses.
The fact that leaders within the Dallas ISD have to look at these names to understand their place in history is both shameful and terrifying. For brevity’s sake I will address the three prominent names from the article and leave you to draw you own conclusions about the futility of these “politically correct” investigations and how much the Social Justice set is wasting people’s time and taxpayer dollars. Someone is being paid to do these investigations on behalf of the school district. Here is the full list.
To include Benjamin Franklin, one of the first prominent abolitionists, on this list is astounding. In 1785 Franklin joined, what at the time, was considered a radical movement started by the Quakers. He advocated for public funding to educate freedmen, freed his own slaves after equipping them with skills in his print shop and other trades and acted as the movement’s President. I am not sure if the lesson of Franklin’s conversion to the abolitionist movement and his subsequent advocacy are lost on Dallas ISD or our Social Justice Overlords. In either case his inclusion is preposterous as his life and work are instructive.
As for Jefferson and Houston, their histories with slave ownership, and their political stances on the subject are as complex and they are indicative of the time in which they lived. Jefferson signed a law ending the slave trade as President. Houston was deposed as Governor of Texas for refusing to support secession based on the issue of slavery. The former took a paternalistic view of emancipation yet tried to advocate a law in the Virginia legislature allowing residents to free their slaves. Houston opposed slavery in new US territories as a Senator.
A research of the history of these men will tell you what anyone who has taken a few courses in American history already knows. Their views on the subject of slavery were often contradictory as they struggled with the issues and realities of the time in which they lived. Just as every leader throughout history has and will continue to do. It does not and should not diminish their accomplishments and contributions, but rather serve as an example that even great men can be flawed. In so many ways the lives of these men should be celebrated. Franklin and Jefferson were instrumental in conceiving a form of government and a set of inalienable rights that made it impossible for the legacy of slavery to continue no matter how they lived during their own time. Houston led the army that gained independence for Texas among other accomplishments.
Personally, I attended both George H. Nichols elementary and Jennie F. Snapp middle. I have no clue who they were or what they thought about slavery, civil rights, integration or anything else. It also never occurred to me to contemplate it as a child. They could have been named Oakwood and Butternut for all I cared. School was about my friends, learning and the activities I engaged in. Why we feel the need to extrapolate adult offense based on selective history on to children, I just don’t understand.
So what to do? I say do it all or do nothing. Dallas ISD, strip every historical name off your schools. Do not play arbiter of whose name is worthy to be over the door. Develop a policy that says each school will be named after the road it is on. Or a type of tree. Problem solved, time and money saved. Or just leave the assessment of these men and women to the individuals you are charged with educating after you teach them the full scope and impact of the lives they led. You know, that thing called “educating” that you are actually supposed to be doing?