Save Our Sidney

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Carolyn Wright
Carolyn Wright signed this petition

The Montgomery County School Board is considering changing the names of three high schools in Montgomery, Alabama. These schools are RE Lee, Jeff Davis, and Sidney Lanier. While we understand the sentiments of those wishing to change the names, we would like the Board to reconsider changing the Lanier High School name. Because of the misinformation printed on local and social media, we would like the board members to know the truth about this man.

Sidney Lanier did join the Confederate Army at age 19 and served for about three years as a private and while in service he denied every promotion offered to him. He never fired his rifle in battle. Some have called him a “Confederate Leader” but the only thing he ever led in the army was the enlisted man's band where Sidney played the flute. Some have said he was called "poet of the Confederacy" but this is false.

Lanier then transferred to the Signal Corps where he was a blockade runner but he got caught on his first trip out of Smithville on the South Carolina coast and spent a year in prison in Maryland. This confinement would cost him his health. He wrote poetry and fiction after the war and taught school to put food on the table for his family.

Sidney Lanier was 39 when he died of tuberculosis. He left his wife, Mary, with four sons to raise. He was in effect a pauper. Today, Lanier lies in Baltimore's Green Mount Cemetery under an unfinished marker in the family plot of a friend.

The high school in Montgomery was named after him not because he served in the Confederate Army. It was named after him because of his literary talent for which he was known all over the world.