Chicago Slow To Change Named Schools For Slave Owners Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) – Chicago public school officials changed the name of just one of the 30 schools named for slave owners, a year after a senior district official recognized the issue as “dehumanizing.” according to a newspaper article.

The Chicago Sun-Times conducted an analysis last year showing that of 652 public schools, 30 were named after those who owned or traded black or native slaves. Schools are located in different parts of the city and include campuses with a majority of black students. So far at school, Andrew Jackson Language Academy on the city’s West Side has removed the name of the Seventh President, who has enslaved people. The school was renamed Chicago World Language Academy in May.

The newspaper presented its findings last year to Maurice Swinney, who was appointed the district’s first equity officer in October 2018. Swinney said he was not aware of the number of linked school names to slave owners, called it “dehumanizing” and said the names need to be changed. He declined recent requests for an interview with the newspaper.

A district spokesperson attributed the name change delays to the coronavirus pandemic.

District officials “are still working on the policy that will go to the board and public comment, so we don’t have much to share at this time,” the CPS spokesperson said, Mary Fergus, at the newspaper. “It’s not because it hasn’t been important, but, with COVID and the reopening of schools and everything, it took priority.”

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