Change Richard Montgomery High School’s name to honor a true MCPS hero.
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RM High School students deserve a namesake that truly represents them, and while Richard Montgomery may have his place in history, he no longer deserves a place on the front of our school. Richard Montgomery was a slave owning general whose claim to fame was a failed invasion of Canada during the American Revolutionary War. Montgomery owned a number of slaves over his lifetime, and we strongly believe that celebrating a slave owner is contradictory to the community of diversity and inclusion we’ve fostered. The school was named Rockville High School up until 1935, when it was re-named Richard Montgomery High School to distinguish it from Rockville Colored High School during the segregation era.
Join us in urging the RMHS administration to ask the MCPS Board of Education to change our school’s name and replace it with namesake that better represents our values. While the Board of Education may make the final naming decision, we have researched a few other potential Montgomery County historical figures who deserve our recognition.
Emily Catherine Edmonson: Edmonson was born into slavery in Montgomery County in 1835. Edmonson and her siblings attempted to escape onboard a cargo ship named The Pearl, in what was considered the largest attempted slave escape in the history of the Underground Railroad, but this escape was unsuccessful. Edmonson and her sibling were finally freed in 1848, and she went on to become an outspoken abolitionist who worked alongside Frederick Douglas. She was educated in the DC area, lived in Sandy Spring, and later became a founding member of the Hillsdale community for newly freed slaves.
Lillian Beatrice Brown: Brown was born in Rockville, Maryland in 1912. Brown was the granddaughter of slaves, who became the principal and sole teacher at Germantown Colored Elementary School, a one-room segregated school for African American students with 60 pupils and dismal resources. Despite this, Brown was an accomplished teacher who inspired many of her underprivileged students to seek higher education and even become teachers themselves. Brown taught at a number of elementary schools in the county, including Beall Elementary after it was integrated.
Gladys Young: "Ms. Gladys P. Young, affectionately known as the 'Harriet Tubman of Montgomery County', has vocally campaigned for equal rights in housing, education, political action, and law enforcement. She forced elected officials and public servants to focus on seemingly invisible segregated segments of Montgomery County through 'stark, primitive surrender to her public witness.' Through her skilled leadership, she has secured home ownership, tenant rentals and lease agreements for people of color. She has organized voter registration drives and trained voting registrars by the hundreds. She was among the earliest champions of accountability in employment after integration. Ms. Young stepped forward to monitor recruiting statistics and complaint processes within the Board of Education and the Police Department. Gladys has served the NAACP for decades in various leadership roles. She was one of the founding members of the Coalition for Equitable Representation in Government (CERG) where she has promoted minority involvement in politics." - Montgomery County Office of Human Rights
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