SF district to rename school named after Abraham Lincoln because former president did not show that ‘black lives mattered to him’

A committee in San Francisco has recommended the removal of Abraham Lincoln’s name from a high school.

  • The reason behind this is the former President’s treatment of Native Americans.
  • Lincoln abolished slavery in 1863 when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
  • 44 of the 125 schools in the San Francisco Unified School District are expected to be renamed.
  • The proposal to remove Abraham Lincoln’s name has received opposition and backlash online.
Yalonda M. James / The Chronicle

The San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee has found 44 schools with problematic titles.

Now, the committee is recommending the removal of Abraham Lincoln’s name from a San Francisco high school. According to Fox News, Lincoln High School is just one of 44 schools which the committee has found to have a problematic title. Some of the other schools include George Washington High School, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Paul Revere K-8. The San Francisco Chronicle explained that when the committee released the names of the 44 schools, most of them made sense. Some of the names included Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and Vasco Nunez Balboa. However, the committee received criticism for some of the other names; that is, people were surprised by El Dorado, Dianne Feinstein – and most of all, Abraham Lincoln.

Committee spreadsheet

The committee’s spreadsheet listed which schools need to be renamed and why.

As seen above, the committee proposed the removal of Lincoln’s name due to his treatment of Native Americans. Jeremiah Jeffries, the committee chairman, explained that “The discussion for Lincoln centered around his treatment of First Nation peoples because that was offered first. Once he met criteria in that way, we did not belabor the point.” Jeffries went further as he claimed that “The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery. Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”

The proposal faced backlash as many disagreed with the committee’s claims.

According to the Daily Mail, many Americans view Lincoln as “one of the greatest presidents America has seen.” Many believe that he made an important move towards racial equality through his abolition of slavery and his leadership during the Civil War. The Daily Mail further reported that in 1854, Lincoln claimed “My ancient faith teaches me that ‘all men are created equal’; and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.” Moreover, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and announced “that all persons held as slaves” in the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Harold Holzer, a Lincoln scholar and director of the Hunter College’s Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute shared his views.

He saved the country from dividing and ruin […] He should be honored for it. […] He was more progressive than most people. There was pretty rampant hostility (toward Native Americans) and I think Lincoln rose above it. […] Nobody is going to pass 21st century mores if you’re looking at the 18th and 19th centuries.

Numerous people expressed their disapproval on Twitter.

The committee is set to meet again in January and formally recommend renaming the 44 schools.

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