If there’s one thing we know about America, it’s that they love honoring their Confederate “heroes.” (Which is crazy when you think about it. What country honors an army set out on destroying it?) Tearing down Confederate statues took on a new urgency during last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests, but a new report reminds us that the Confederacy remains very much alive and well on the buildings of our nation’s schools.
Georgia leads the country with 45 public schools named after Confederate leaders, many in communities of color, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC updated its report counting namesake schools across the country and found Georgia was closely followed by Texas with 40 and Alabama with 22 schools. The report currently lists 198 schools, of which, according to the SPLC, at least 80 are in a county or town that is also named after a Confederate leader.
“Adding insult to injury, many of these namesake schools are located in communities serving a majority of People of Color, honoring men that denied them an equal education. What lessons does this teach our children?” SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks said in a statement.
The SPLC has been a part of a broader movement calling for the removal of monuments, names and markers in communities that honor Confederate leaders. The call spread across the nation following the Black Lives Matter protests last summer.
The SPLC’s statement from their chief of staff:
“Georgia is not the only state elevating the names of proslavery men on our important buildings and institutions. School districts across the United States need to not only eliminate the revisionist racist propaganda used throughout their curricula, but also remove any and all imagery glorifying the Confederacy located on and around school property in the form of monuments, statues, plaques, markers, mascots, and street names.
“While we call on all 198 schools honoring Confederates to change their names, we will continue to call on the Cobb County School Board to listen to student activists leading this charge. This board needs to take a hard, honest look at the Wheeler Name Change group’s research proposal which factually details the harms the Confederacy continues to inflict upon not only Black students, but all Wheeler high school students.”
The SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report can be found here.