Woodrow Wilson High School located in Long Beach, California is named after Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States. He served as president from 1913 to 1921 and was a vehement RACIST and BIGOT who acted as a roadblock to racial and social progress in the United States. During his presidency, Wilson implemented federal policies that subjugated African Americans and excluded them from jobs, civil liberties, and prosperity. Here are some instances that demonstrate Wilson’s intolerance and corrupted views on civil rights.
- Wilson fought for Jim Crow segregation in federal agencies and encouraged members of his cabinet to implement segregation in their departments
- Upon becoming president, Wilson fired fifteen out of seventeen black federal supervisors that had been appointed by his predecessor. This was the beginning of an aggressive campaign to eliminate black employees from the federal workforce in Washington DC.
- Woodrow Wilson was an ally of the Ku Klux Klan. He allowed a special screening of the pro-Klan propaganda film “The Birth of a Nation” at the White House. This film was credited with reviving the Klan’s popularity and membership in the United States.
- Wilson failed to intervene to stop the racial violence under his administration. Wilson stood by as lynchings and ethnic massacres took thousands of African American lives during his presidency.
Please watch the video linked below. It is a clip titled “Woodrow Wilson was a racist” from the documentary series “American Experience - The Great War”.
For more information please see the below linked articles entitled, “Woodrow Wilson was extremely racist — even by the standards of his time” and “5 surprising facts about Woodrow Wilson and racism”. These articles provide more details about Wilson’s terrible record on civil rights and race relations.
The reason we name streets, parks, schools, and libraries after public figures is to commemorate their contributions to society. A person who deserves to be memorialized in such a way should not be opposed to the essential civic foundations of freedom and equality.
When students enter a school to learn, they should not have to look up at a name that stood for white supremacy at the highest levels of political power. I believe that an educational institution located in a diverse and inclusive city like Long Beach should not memorialize this man.
There are many great Americans whose name could better represent the promise of a Long Beach education. While we may not all agree on a new name for this school, I think we can agree that it should not be named after Woodrow Wilson.
Black Lives Matter - Rest in Peace George Floyd