Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gotta Change The Name Of That School

For decades, a San Francisco preschool in an underserved, predominantly black neighborhood bore the name of Peter Burnett, California's first elected civilian governor.

The problem is, Burnett was a staunch racist who supported the exclusion of blacks from the state, the suspension of Chinese immigration and the extermination of Native Americans.

Last year, while reading a book about the history of race relations in California, local NAACP chapter president Rev. Amos Brown said he uncovered "the chilling details" of Burnett's tenure from 1849 to 1851.

"I called the superintendent and I said, 'We need to change the name of that school,'" he said of the Burnett Child Development Center in the Bayview-Hunter's Point neighborhood. "There was a great team effort in the community after I sounded the alarm." link

I don't believe in changing the name of schools and the like, but hey, I'm hip, I'm groovy, I'm modern, I'm willing to play along, I can move with the times. The City of Berkeley was named after a slave-owning Anglican priest. And the City of San Francisco is named after a Catholic, of all people, and we all know what those Catholic priests do to children, and what they think of homosexuality and abortion.

You know what? I'm converted to the cause. Let the name-changing begin!


MikeAT said...


Seems like SF is behind New Orleans on this. Back in the 90s the local community activists of the city were all appalled we had a Thomas Jefferson Elementary, Robert E Lee High School, etc. I remember seeing the school board with a failing system graduating kids who could not read their diplomas but the were right on "We're gonna change the names of any school named after a slave owner..."

What a waste.

M. Mangels said...

Hi Darren, I'm enjoying your backlog here. But I have to say, as a life-long SF resident, the city is actually named after San Francisco Bay, which was indeed named after the saint. Distinction without difference perhaps, but there you go.