Nearly 800 people have signed a petition to change the name of Woodrow Wilson High School because of the former president’s seemingly racist beliefs and policies.

Woodrow student Cameron McElhenie started the petition to Dallas ISD school board president Justin Henry after Princeton University approved the removal of Wilson’s name from its public policy school Friday.

The petition had 778 signatures as of 10 a.m. Monday.

During his presidency, Wilson resegregated many federal offices and threw civil rights leader William Monroe Trotter out of a meeting in the Oval Office. He shared many beliefs with the Ku Klux Klan and played “The Birth of a Nation” at the White House. The film rekindled the KKK by depicting its members as saviors during Reconstruction.

“Unfortunately, many see that renaming of buildings seems ‘silly’ and ‘doesn’t do much’ and say, ‘It doesn’t really matter,’ but by choosing to keep these names, you are, in fact, giving them honor and respect for their racist actions, so I say that the changing of building names after infamous racists are inevitable and we should get it done now,” McElhenie wrote. “In short, there are far better people to name your precious schools and buildings after.”

High schools in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey are also considering removing Wilson’s name from their buildings.

In 2017, Dallas ISD renamed four schools named after Confederate generals. Two of them were in our neighborhood. Stonewall Jackson Elementary became Mockingbird Elementary, and Robert E. Lee Elementary became Geneva Heights Elementary.


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