A Chicago, Illinois public elementary school is getting a new name after a district-wide review of school names. The Louis Agassiz Elementary School is set to be renamed in honor of abolitionist and human rights activist Harriet Tubman.
According to The Associated Press, the school is currently named after Swiss-born biologist Louis Agassiz who was also a promoter of eugenics, or the idea that people of African descent are inferior to others and should not reproduce. The professor was educated in Germany in the 1800s and went on to be a celebrated professor of natural science at Harvard University.
The outlet also reported that it was a group of parents who came together three years ago to push the effort to get the school renamed. Their work was reinvigorated following the death of George Floyd last May by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota that amplified calls for racial and social justice around the country.
“As an African American, I’m so happy to see Harriet Tubman’s name on an institution representative of the community at large,” Tina King, a parent representative on the school’s council that helped push the name change, told the outlet. Tubman was chosen from a list that included civil rights icon Rosa Parks, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.
“Those African American historical figures deserve to be mainstream, just like non-Black historical figures” King added.
The Chicago Board of Education is scheduled to hold a vote on the name on Wednesday (March 24).
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