25 Feb 2004 Remember the Titans, Forget Their Name
NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi is true to his school:
Where I live, northern Virginia, the local NAACP wants to rename T.C. Williams High School. People across the country may recognize the school from the movie “Remember the Titans.” That movie, based on a true story, showed how kids can overcome racial stereotypes and animosity to come together as one society. It’s inspiring. Too bad that T.C. Williams, the man, opposed desegregation in the 1950s when he was the school superintendent. Activists now want the school renamed.
Renaming schools because they are named after historical figures who owned slaves or supported segregationist laws is all the rage these days. I’m not T.C. Williams’ biographer, but I figure they named the school after him for achievements unrelated to his segregationist views. Besides, the history of the school itself is now more important than the man ever could have hoped to be. How do you explain to someone the moral of the movie with the coda that they changed the school’s name to be politically correct?
When I was growing up in Country Club Hills, Illinois, I went to Willowview Middle School. A few years later, along with building a nice new gym, they renamed it Zenon J. Sykua School after a recently-deceased superintendent. Up until now, I always thought the decision to give it such an complex name wasn’t such a good idea. Not anymore.