Change the name of Sir Francis Drake High School

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We, a group of Sir Francis Drake High School recent alumni/e, as well as the two most recent Drake Student Trustees to the Tamalpais Union High School District Board of Trustees, are putting forward this petition because the name “Sir Francis Drake” does not symbolize the values, ethics, and integrity we believe should represent the Drake community, past or present. This change would follow precedent set by the Tamalpais Union High School Board of Trustees, as Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley changed their mascot from the Indian to the Red-Tailed Hawk in 1989.    


It has been widely acknowledged by historians that Drake played an active role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and personally benefited from the suffering of enslaved peoples. According to The Guardian, Drake “enslaved between 1,200 and 1,400 Africans between 1562 and 1567-a figure that probably meant the deaths of around three times as many, according to contemporary estimates.”  The History Channel describes his career as beginning with enslavement and privateering. 


We and our allies call on the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) Board of Trustees and the administration of TUHSD and Drake High School to rename the school, to something such as Archie Williams high school. Archie Williams was a lifelong Bay Area resident, Olympian, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, and longtime teacher at Drake. Mr. Williams is a person who clearly represents what we strive for as a community. The symbols and names we chose to display represent who we are and what we believe as a community; Sir Francis Drake should not be one of those symbols. 

 

Marin petitions calling for the renaming of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and removal of the Sir Francis Drake Statue have surfaced and the calls for reconciling with Sir Francis Drake’s role in enslavement have reached the United Kingdom. The Queen’s School in the UK has already chosen to rename their building that previously referenced Drake. Despite these important petitions, none have directly addressed the renaming of our High School. 


In Community,


Noah Block ’17, Drake Student Trustee 2016-2017

Matilda Darragh-Ford ’20, Drake Student Trustee 2017-2020

Joaquin Lang ’19

Amin al-Jamal ’16

Rose Strauss ’17

Sierra Sabec ’20

Iona Normandi ’20

Meghan Rienks-Carney ’11

 

 

Sources Referenced:


Letting the Indian Go: The Evolution of the Tam Mascot by Mae Puckett

After Colston, figures such as Drake and Peel could be next

Queens' School to rename house named after slave trader Sir Francis Drake

SFGATE Report: Activists seek removal of Sir Francis Drake's name in Marin