The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What, Pt. 2?

Even though he has no historical evidence to prove his claim some dude wants to change the name of a Harlandale ISD elementary school because he believes it was named after Confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson:

The debate comes down to this: Was Stonewall-Flanders Elementary School named for the legendary Confederate general Stonewall Jackson or for stone fences that adorned front yards in the neighborhood?

Harlandale Independent School District trustees will consider the question as they decide whether to grant a former district administrator's request to rename the school after César Chávez, the late social activist.

"We don't have any historical evidence that it was, indeed, named for Stonewall Jackson," district spokesman David Ochoa said Monday, when the Board of Trustees heard the proposal.

Nick Calzoncit thinks otherwise, though he can provide no concrete evidence to support his theory.

He has gathered 367 verified signatures within the school's attendance boundaries. Under district policy, he needed 351 signatures, or half the school's total enrollment, before district officials would consider his proposal.

The board could vote or decide not to take action at its January meeting.

Calzoncit says Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson was a racist and the school should not bear his name.

"I evaluated all the schools in San Antonio that are named after racists and bigots," he said. "Stonewall stood out as the worst of all of the people."

Who is Calzoncit going against? A little bit of history and a UTSA professor:

Delgado said she tends to agree with an explanation offered by Felix Almaraz Jr., a history professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Almaraz said Stonewall Elementary was named for the street on which it was located. The street name, he said, reflected a local practice.

"Some residents gathered the stones that were on their properties, and they piled them up in front in a very neat configuration, and then they applied mortar and created stone fences," said Almaraz, who attended Stonewall Elementary in the 1940s.

Lost in this pathetic commotion is the naming of a school after Cesar Chavez. While this is long overdue, this probably isn't the school to do it at. As shown in other portions of the article, there's also a group of families who have forcefully advocated to keep the Stonewall name, even after it was consolidated with another elementary school and rebuilt.

On another note, how incredibly disgusting is it to have a Ronald Reagan High School before there's a Abraham Lincoln or George Washington High School or any school named after Cesar Chavez in San Antonio?