Support the name change of Robert E. Lee H​.​S. in Jacksonville, FL

Support the name change of Robert E. Lee H​.​S. in Jacksonville, FL

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Jennifer Kent started this petition to School constituents - alumni and community members and

As part of a large, national push to change the names of schools named after confederate leaders, I am garnering support in favor of changing the name of Robert E. Lee High School in the historic Riverside/Avondale neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.  A group of alumni has a change.org petition in support of keeping the name, therefore, this petition is to demonstrate support, especially alumni and community support, FOR changing the name.

As a second generation alumni, former teacher at Lee and granddaughter of a cafeteria worker there, I take pride in the school and its successes. As the great-grand daughter of a confederate soldier, I offer my voice in distinguishing the legacy of the school and the alumni who embody it from its namesake.  The history will not change, but the name of the school can. 

Unfortunately, there are still some people who argue the atrocities of North American slavery. Adam Serwer says, "The strangest part about the continued personality cult of Robert E. Lee is how few of the qualities his admirers profess to see in him he actually possessed.  I suggest a read of Serwer's full article at https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-myth-of-the-kindly-general-lee/529038/. He cites a number of other historical sources as well.

The school opened in 1928 and my mom attended while the school was, in effect, still segregated, graduating in 1965.  I attended from 1994 to 1998 while the student population was comprised of approximately 50% white and 50% black students. In 2004, I returned to the school as a teacher and coach when the population was predominantly black. I was shocked to see, what felt to me like, the community had turned its back on the school (I welcome proof to the contrary). 

The trend became that the wealthy white families who occupied the larger homes in the area, among others, opted to send their children to private schools. And I was told countless times by alumni I'd run across "that used to be a good school."  To which I would respond, "No, it used to be a white school. It's still a good school."  It's these same people who turned their back on the school that seem to be the strongest proponents for keeping the name. These proponents are completely tone deaf to the concept of being a black student attending a school named after a former enslaver. 

The school underwent a major renovation about 10 years ago and is beyond ready for a new name to usher it into the future; a name that inspires the current students and teachers and contributes to the thriving, diverse neighborhood in which its located. I welcome all fellow alumni, especially those who previously supported keeping the name, to wrap your arms around your alma mater and show your support for changing the name.

Art Credit: Ryan Melgar

0 have signed. Let’s get to 500!
At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!