Rename Woodward High School to "Josiah Henson High School"

Rename Woodward High School to "Josiah Henson High School"

Started
September 7, 2022
Signatures: 66Next Goal: 100
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Why this petition matters

Started by Danielle Pointon

Josiah Henson is a local, Montgomery County, MD hero. After being forcibly taken and sold into slavery to work on the very grounds that the old Woodward High School sits, he managed to escape to freedom and helped free many other slaves in the following years. Henson and his accomplishments were largely unknown until recent years, and even now he doesn't receive the credit and recognition in our local history that he deserves. To honor this amazing black man and all of the work that he has done, Woodward High School, the land on which he was faced with so many hardships, should be renamed Josiah Henson High School. Sign now to help make this tribute to Josiah Henson a reality!

Some additional backstory as to why he deserves this:

--As a child he was purchased away from his family and sold to Isaac Riley who lived within a quarter mile of the new school on Old Georgetown Road.

--After years of service, Henson learned Riley was trying to sell him. Henson decided to escape to Canada.

--There he helped form a black community known as the ‘Dawn Settlement’. He opened a saw mill, established a church and school, and helped at least 118 enslaved people to freedom in Canada on the Underground Railroad.

--He learned to read and write, and his autobiography inspired the famous book Uncle Tom's Cabin one generation later.

--Henson also served as an officer in the Canadian Army, leading a black militia unit in the Canadian Rebellion of 1837.

--He met Queen Victoria twice and U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes at the White House.

--For all of his accomplishments, Josiah Henson was the first black man to be featured on a Canadian stamp.

--Only within the past 3 years has Montgomery County turned the old plantation site into a small museum and renamed a road for Henson. While this is appreciated, we can and should do more. Naming a new school after Josiah Henson on the very site he was enslaved would make a profound statement worthy of the man.

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Signatures: 66Next Goal: 100
Support now