Every School In Texas Named After a Confederate Loyalist, Mapped

Well, almost: More than 50 Texas schools currently bear the names of Confederate soldiers, writes Drew Blackburn in Texas Monthly. The interactive map above was included in yesterday’s article, which pairs the location of each school with a demographic breakdown of its student body. Back in January, HISD announced its decision to rename 4 of 7 schools in the district named for Confederate figures (including Dowling Middle School, missing from the map); 2 weeks ago, the school board voted to go ahead and rename the other 3 as well. Dallas and Austin have also begun renaming schools.

Map of Texas schools named after Confederate figures: Texas Monthly


Civil War Battlegrounds

34 Comment

  • ? Life must be pretty sweet to waste your time worrying about the name of a school.

    Should cities with religious affiliated names change in the name of “separation of church and state”?

    Better solution, just eliminate school names and give them a number. HISD 1 HISD 2 HISD 3. Of course someone may be offended that HISD is sexist because it contains “his”.

  • Kjb434

    Calm down, they’re not hurting anyone by renaming the schools. Even if you don’t believe in fundamental american rights to equality, peace, and justice for all… surely you can find better things to gripe about, like the increasing number of pot holes or lack of mass transit in this city.

  • During the school integration fights in the 40s & 50s, the Confederate flag was adopted as a symbol of defiance against the Federal government by Strom Thurmond’s States’ Rights Party. States like SC, GA, and AL adopted the confederate flag in order to demonstrate their defiance of Federal efforts to integrate schools. Almost everyone of the schools in the article were named for confederate figures as a show of defiance against integration either at the time Texas first enacted school segregation in the 20s up through the civil rights era.
    Sure, you can make arguments about individual confederate figures not being so bad as others. But, Texas’ role in the Civil War was fairly minimal. The state had about 70,000 soldiers in an army of about a million. Sam Houston was opposed to succession and there were a substantial number of union loyalists in the Hill Country among the German immigrants. Texans did not suddenly become interested in southern heritage in the 1920s. It did become a very segregated state that resisted integration as much as any other state in the south. The confederacy was an essential symbol of that resistance.
    Confederate symbols may seem to most of us to just be another historical name. But there is a very rapidly rising number of people participating in white supremacist websites and online forums who very much see confederate figures and heroes to the white supremacist movement. Dylan Flood was inspired by white supremacist groups he found on the internet. There is very much a revival of the Cult of the Lost Cause and an effort by white supremacists to erase racism from the story of the Civil War. In light of this, keeping confederate figures on the names of schools is not really such a trivial thing.

  • On the positive side, I’d bet a lot of money there’s a strong statistical correlation with increased property values for homes not being zoned to schools named after folks that fought on the losing side of a war.
    That’s just the luck of history, many intelligent and great people have been lost and forgotten in time for being born on the wrong side.

  • Actually, Montrose1100, they will be spending large sums of money in renaming the schools. All signage, badges, equipment, uniforms, t-shirts, etc. will be re-branded with the new name. That all costs taxpayer money.

  • Montrose1100,
    Not hurting anyone you say? Where is the$250,000 per school name change coming from? It isn’t coming out of the Board member’s personal pocket but instead out of a budget that HISD is always whining about never being big enough. That money could probably buys books, computers, etc…..Poll the students and they could probably care less about the origins of the school name. A name is not going to hold a kid back from pursuing the American ideal. I went to a school named after a department store executive—wow what an inspiration.

  • I agree that it’s ridiculous with kids flunking out, being assaulted etc. to worry about something so stupid. Just call the damn school HS #9, it will still suck no matter what it’s called. I’m sure these old Confederates wouldn’t want their name on these terrible schools anyway.

  • Montrose1100,
    Relax? Maybe nobody’s getting hurt but I don’t like the idea of $2 million being wasted by HISD on an expenditure that has nothing to do with education.

  • Agree. Rename the schools and be done with it. Glorifying, and that’s what naming a school does, the worst part of US history is terrible for present and future generations.

  • I’ll rise to the defense of kjb434’s comment in that the school board, teachers, parents, and children should be more focused on the content of their education rather than the frivolous wrapper of the school’s name. Strict economic logic would say that the best use of public education taxpayer dollars should be focused on the lessons and testing of the students. All other uses of these dollars are secondary.
    To Montrose1100’s comment about “not hurting anyone by renaming the schools”: There is a dollar cost to all of the signage and stationery changes for renaming so those we are robbing those dollars from the pure education budget for teaching the children. So, indirectly we are hurting the kids. Finally, it may be anecdotal, but I don’t think the NAME of the school affects test scores or quality of learning. If this is true, then the true waste is talking about name changes.

  • I still see people flying Dixie flags over their property all over rural Texas. If I were African-American, that would scare and anger me. Like the names on the schools, it can be a symbol of hatred, bigotry and blatant racism – especially if you are one of those whose ancestors were enslaved. I don’t understand the infatuation by white people with a culture and a war that occurred 150 years ago. Rename and move on already!

  • I think we’ve reached the point where dwindling municipal coffers meet rapid social change and there’s no point in re-naming one beloved thing as another beloved thing.
    Lets examine history and accept that all things change!
    I feel it would do a world of good for individuals, families and communities to discuss and accept…

  • King county in Oregon was named after a slave owner. They kept the county name but changed who it was named after. Hereafter, Lee High School shallbe named after Sheila Jackson Lee.

  • Sounds like the commies renaming St Petersburg doesn’t it. Sanity may become popular again one day and the names can revert. Maybe.

  • None of this was even an issue until the Charleston shooter. A certain segment of our society is taking advantage of this unfortunate occurrence to once again delay in taking personal responsibility for duty to American society.

  • Actually changing the names is no more a blow to our terrible education system already. Point not taken.

    If you’re against changing the names for tax dollar waste and tax dollar waste alone, then fine. But don’t use it to mask any feelings about confederacy or “history”.

    Are there any POC on this site that attended a confederate named School? How did/does it make you feel?

    The lack of empathy in this country is a red flag for the emotional state of our citizens.

  • Judging by these comments the spirit of the confederacy is still alive, or at least, apologized for. You will all eventually die off and these names will be gone and forgotten and disposed of into the ash heap of history, and for good reason. It’s taken a little long than anyone imagined but it’s progress.

  • Are there “Northern” schools named, or statues made in the likeness, of leaders of the Union Army? If so they be renamed to respect who lost their lives at their hands. The War of Northern aggression should not be forgotten. If we want to ignore a chapter in our history this is the only way to heal the nation. Again if not for the Charleston shooter none of this would even be an issue.

  • It’s still insanity that we have schools named for traitors against the US, and by extension, setting them forth as an example for our children.

  • TMR – I hate to bring you back to reality but there are also US Military bases named after Sons of The Confederacy. Fort (Leonidas) Polk was killed in action during the Atlanta Campaign. Don’t mention that to Obama – it could potentially distract him from his golf game ;-)

  • I can’t honestly believe you’re serious about this. And your repeated contention that this only occurred because of Charleston just shows how deaf you are to this issue. People have been pushing this throughout the south for decades. It’s just slow going because we have people like you who are resisting this against all reason and decency.

  • Agree it is not appropriate to have schools named for these people, especially since it was in response to civil rights movement. And, it would be hilarious for Robert Lee to be renamed Sheila Jackson Lee

  • @Roanoker those need to be changed, too. The Old South needs to lose the peace once and for all.

  • Quick, Roanaker: name the ratio of vacation hours of GWB has over Obama. Answer: ~2.5. You and your ilk are laughable. Simple fact checks easily discredit your smart ass jokes.
    “War of Northern Aggression”. I’m having flashbacks to high school.
    And there’s another place named after a confederate leader? You don’t say? This piece of news just blew me away and I will never be the same again after having read it. I wave the white flag (just like your confederate heroes did) to your ironclad arguments.

  • It would be easier to rename Rober E Lee high school to Spike Lee.

  • My golf joke is that if Obama finds out then he’ll issue another Executive Order to rename all the US bases.

    The underlying theme of victimhood will live a lot longer than any memory of the War Between the States.

    Playing perpetual victim is the New Capitalism, and we all know who’s trying to get the bases loaded.

  • Oh…. I see. I think you were looking for infowars.com or theblaze.com. Although I’m supposing that you are already familiar.

  • Dude, re-living a war your side lost and whining about it 150 years later is playing the victim

  • Roanoker, do you really believe none of this was an issue before the Charleston massacre? It must be difficult getting the sand out of your mouth when you lift your head from the ground….sorry, don’t mean to be an ass, but really? And as for “healing the nation”……this is part of it, not ignoring it. We will never move on as a nation as long as we hold on to this past crap. And of course, you are not playing the victim card are you? You are hardly the victim of a war that ended 151 years ago unless you are VERY old. As for other’s comments about using “taxpayer dollars” as an excuse not to phase in name-changes, the argument is just a smoke screen for something else. Most of these Houston schools haven’t had a tax payer penny spent on them since the flight to Pasadena, Katy, Spring, and the Woodlands.

  • Find me one article in the last ten years, before Charleston, about renaming HISD schools.

  • Then let’s take it one step further. Re-name DC’s Reagan National Airport since he ignored the AIDS crisis until half way through his term indirectly causing scores of deaths. Re-name Dallas’ George W Bush Turnpike since he caused more ill will and deaths in the Middle East than any other President. Re-name every public building, street, park, etc…..because there is something wrong or offensive about every single person. It seems that it would be an excellent teaching lesson to educate the students in these affected schools about their school’s namesake roles in the Civil War, the naming trend of the 20s/30s of Confederate “heroes” and why viewed through today’s lense, these attempts to thwart civil rights (if that’s what it really was) were wrong then just as it is kind of a reverse whitewash to eliminate these names from our collective history. History is what it is. To not know history is to always be a child.

  • Montrose1100, I attended Sidney Lanier Middle School and now my daughter does. This ordeal has brought racial tensions to my daughter’s school where there none before. The current students were polled and were overwhelmingly against a name change, but instead of listening to their constituents, the board members decided to go against those they are representing.

    When I attended Lanier we were taught that he was a poet and that’s about as deep as the history lesson went. At that age we were more focused on getting through puberty and passing algebra. I’m wondering if this whole thing isn’t just contrived to create hype for Jolanda Jones new TV show.

  • I’m late to this conversation, but I have to ask… Has the name of a school ever inspired violence of any sort that is specifically related to the identity of the person behind the name? Has that ever been documented, even once, even just as a contributing factor? To my mind, speaking from experience attending various public schools in Texas, names of schools are thoroughly irrelevant. And I would figure that they would go on being like that unless you ignite some controversy about them and then you risk reconstituting martyrdom and perhaps inciting terroristic violence. (Fourteen years after 9/11, have we learned nothing about the factors that underlie terrorism? There is certainly more than one of those at play in poor white communities.)
    Now that’s not to say that I can’t imagine myself in the place of blacks that may feel intimidated by symbols of violence, but it has to be understood that removing those symbols won’t change attitudes, not for the better. When some nut like Dylan Roof commits a terrorist action, call it what it is and shun that individual. You can mock them or you can express pity for that person because they are clearly insane, but don’t take them so seriously. Taking that person seriously results in other people taking him and his ideas seriously. You certainly don’t want that.
    This isn’t to say that there doesn’t need to be an ongoing conversation about race and racism in America. And there has been, and it has resulted in sweeping changes in attitudes in each successive generation of young people. That’s good! Some attitudes are still pervasive, many necessary conversations haven’t yet been had. But that is a productive process. That is a process that de-fangs the symbols and legacy of racism, even where they do exist. (For example, in all seriousness, is there anybody on the UT-Austin campus that would have cited Jefferson Davis as a personal inspiration? Did the statue have any effect on students other than as a rallying point for those who wanted it removed? Certainly in the past, but not today; and I find that interesting, perhaps even worthy of remembrance in some form.)
    This is to say nothing of the budget issues that were brought up. Those are real, too. Texas’ expenditures per student are the third-lowest in the nation (although, Montrose1100, actually Texas outperforms the nation in terms of educational outcomes for all individual ethnicities and income levels).
    This is also to say nothing about being consistent and even-handed. Many of the schools with offending names are named after the city or county where they are located. All of those names could be erased from the American geography if people were so inclined, but there are a lot of gray areas and persons that should perhaps receive attention if we’re going to go down this path. To provide two examples: Mirabeau B. Lamar & Woodrow Wilson. There is no shortage of part-time villains or very simply people that didn’t do all that they could’ve done that are nevertheless enshrined in history. Look to them to see how far we’ve come. Its cause for optimism, not for fear.

  • Renaming the schools is WELL over due !! I can’t believe how foolish we were to allow it to go on this long. Money WELL spent!!