CHANGE THE NAME OF EDWARD HAND MIDDLE SCHOOL!

CHANGE THE NAME OF EDWARD HAND MIDDLE SCHOOL!

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Vincent Smith started this petition to School district of Lancaster

Hazel I. Jackson was a graduate of South Carolina State College with a B.S. Degree in Secondary English.  She received her Master’s Degree in Education from Temple University and did postgraduate work at Delaware University.  She taught in the public schools of South Carolina for four years before moving to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Her expectations of advanced racial equality in the North were diminished after applying for teaching positions in Lancaster: first being accepted for the position, then ultimately being denied the position when it was revealed that she was Black. 

- After 9 years and much perseverance, she became the first African/American female to teach in the Lancaster public schools in 1962 at Edward Hand Middle School and eventually, the first African American faculty member of Millersville University in 1970.  

-She presented the first Black History celebration of the Lancaster City schools at Hand Jr. High School in 1963.  This program and observance led to the formation of the Black History Club at McCaskey High School, which continues programs and activities focused on black history and culture today.

-She was instrumental in the renaming of Higbee Elementary School to Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary in 1980.  This renaming committee established a M.L. King scholarship fund which Professor Jackson chaired.

-She initiated the first recognition of African American history at Millersville University with a program entitled “Black Expressions”.  During her tenure at Millersville University, she was instrumental in initiating courses in African American literature:  Early African American Literature, Contemporary   Literature and Ethnic Literature in America (inclusive of all nationalities).

-In her continuous efforts to unite people of all ethnic backgrounds, she became a member and held positions with Church Women United, Inc., a national ecumenical Christian women’s movement representing Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and other Christian faith communities.

Hand Middle School students deserve a namesake that truly represents them, and while Edward Hand may have his place in history, he no longer deserves a place on the front of our school. Edward Hand  was a slave owning general whose claim to fame was a Irish soldier, physician, and politician who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of general.

Kitty Hand’s role as a wife and mother in the 18th Century was focused on the domestic comfort of her husband and children, as evidenced by Edward Hand’s letters to her during the war. To aid her in his absence, Hand enslaved persons of African descent: a woman, Sue, a girl, Bet and a boy, Robert, who was entrusted to convey goods and money over long distances between General Hand and Kitty in Lancaster.  We strongly believe that celebrating a slave owner is contradictory to the community of diversity and inclusion we’ve fostered. 

Hazel I. Jackson was a trailblazer and role model for people of color and young women. Changing the name of Edward Hand Middle School to Hazel I. Jackson Middle School will not only remove the negative depiction of a former slave owner’s name and identity from the building, but will honor an educator with direct personal ties to this particular educational facility.  Her determination crossed boundaries and has left an indelible mark on the city of Lancaster.  The names of our community structures should represent the morals and values of today’s society. The only thing inevitable is change. This name change will be a shining example highlighting the accomplishments of local leaders who represent their community and its people.  

Join us in urging the SDOL administration to ask the  Board of Education to change our school’s name and replace it with namesake that better represents our principles and beliefs. 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 7,500!
At 7,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!