Amidst the hysteria over renaming Robert E. Lee High School, you might look into the confederacy credentials of John Tyler - an owner of 70 slaves and an elected member of the Confederate House of Representatives, 16 years after serving as president of the United States.
What effect would that research have on the naming of John Tyler High School and the city of Tyler? It also might be of interest to note that Lee did not fight in support of slavery, but to defend his beloved state of Virginia from what he considered invasion by a hostile force.
While the community considers whether to rename any of our schools, if it is decided to do so, I would like to suggest that since the choice of any person’s name may be fraught with controversy, why not consider avoiding personal names altogether in favor of qualities or geographic descriptions (but definitely not “North” or “South” Tyler, because of the divisive history in our town). Other cities have done this with such names as Unity High School or Patriot High School. Or we could look to the Dallas community college system with pastoral names, despite the urban setting, as Eastfield, Cedar Valley and Northlake College.
If the TISD board of trustees elects to change the name of Robert E. Lee High School, I suggest they change it to A.N. Lee High School. A.N. Lee stands for “Anyone Named Lee.” That way, the school can still be referred to as “Tyler Lee” and individuals can consider the school to be named after their own personal choice, be it Gen. Robert E. Lee, Lee Marvin, Shelia Jackson Lee, (ESPN sportscaster) Robert Lee, or others.
Actually, in my opinion, any reference to the Confederacy was removed years ago with the mascot name change to “Red Raiders” and the elimination of the Confederate Flag, the playing of Dixie, etc.
“But wait, Mr. Jones”, you might say. “Your name change doesn’t comply with the established guidelines for naming TISD schools.”
So what? Since when have those who clamor for name changes and removal of landmarks given history and established regulations (the Constitution, for instance) precedence over their precious political correctness?
Henry “Butch” Jones
In several countries in the Mideast today, the extremist group ISIS is removing or destroying historical monuments, building names, statues, plaques, books, and everything else historical that is not to their political liking. They are trying to suppress learning and knowledge of history for their own self-serving agenda. Every thinking citizen of the civilized world is appalled at these history atrocities and thinks they are crimes against humanity. The news media is appalled and reports on these nefarious activities regularly.
In the U.S., other extremist groups of citizens and politicians are destroying or removing historical monuments, building names, statues, plaques, books, and everything else related to the Old South that is not to their political liking. They are trying to suppress learning and knowledge of Southern history for their own self-serving agenda. Many thinking citizens in the United States are appalled at these history atrocities and think they are “crimes against humanity.” The news media, however, is not appalled. Most unthinking citizens of the U.S. don’t really understand what is going on and passively watch these extremist doings in their own backyards.
When will we all learn that suppression of history is an atrocity and a crime against humanity?