Change name of predominately black elementary school from that of Confederate General

Change name of predominately black elementary school from that of Confederate General

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Shaquan McDowell started this petition to Fulton County Board Of Education

Stonewall Tell elementary school which opened in 1998, and currently is located in the city of South Fulton, Ga., as a part of the Fulton County Schools System. The school services a demographic which is 93% African American, and sits in a community that is 91% African American. When the school was opened in 1998, it was given the name "Stonewall Tell", which honors the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Given that Stonewall Jackson fought on behalf of an institution which saw black people as property and that the school services a demographic which is predominately black, it is essential that the name of the school is changed, and replaced with something more appropriate.

A Bit of Background:

In 1911 a group of community members from Campbell County (now the southern area of Fulton County), lobbied the General Assembly of the State of Georgia, for the incorporation of the “Town of Stonewall, GA”, in honor of the Confederate General “Stonewall Jackson”. In August of that year, the Georgia legislature granted the incorporation and named 5 men as councilmen of the town: Henry H. Hudgens, William A. Hogan, Julius C. Shaw, Jacob S.M. Patton, and a J.E. Thompson. Out of these 5 men, 3 of them had fathers who were documented officers on the side of the Confederate Army, and thus sympathized with the Confederate cause. After the town was incorporated, work and pavement of “Stone Wall Rd” (Tell added later) began, with completion of the road by 1941. The road was given the name of Stonewall, in line with the community’s desire, to honor the Confederate General.

                In the 1940s Campbell County had been combined into Fulton County, and in 1995 the charter for the Town of Stonewall was repealed. While the municipality itself was dissolved, the legacy of the Confederacy it aimed to preserve, continued to persist in the names of roads and areas of the community. This included, but was not limited to, “Stonewall-Tell Road”. Thus, when Stonewall Tell Elementary School opened its doors in 1998, it was given that name as well, and therefore continued the preservation of the Confederacy legacy.

                For any institution to glorify an entity which sought to keep people as property, is egregious, but for Stonewall Tell Elementary, the need for a name change is even more immediate. Stonewall Tell elementary school services a demographic which is 93% African American, and sits in a community that is 91% African American. Thus, with the school’s current name in place, we are sending a predominately black student population, to a school whose name glorifies a man, that insisted they were property. That is, without exaggeration, truly unacceptable and thus all steps necessary to change that name, must be taken.

. Though this name change may seem small, it’s impact on future generation of black and brown students who attend, has the potential to be immense. No longer will they be required to attend a school named after a man who viewed them as property, rather attend one named after an individual whose ideologies were more consistent with freedom, intellectual curiosity, and the creation of a just society.  

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