Tim Brown, a Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver and a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, supports changing the school’s name.
Brown told the Dallas Morning News that someone asked him not to sign a petition urging Dallas ISD to begin the name-change process. He hasn’t signed a petition yet, but he told the publication his clear stance on the subject.
“DISD needs to do what’s right,” Brown said. “Everybody’s eyes have been opened.”
Woodrow student Cameron McElhenie started a petition that asks the Dallas school board to remove former president Woodrow Wilson’s name because of his racist views. The petition had more than 2,000 signatures as of 11:30 a.m. Thursday.
Wilson, the 28th president and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, supported segregation of the federal workforce. He also authorized “Birth of A Nation,” originally called “The Clansmen,” to be the first movie played at the White House, despite its celebration of the Ku Klux Klan.
“What we saw [then], we don’t want to see the same way today,” the Heisman Trophy winner told the Morning News. “I know for a lot of people, this is going to be very tough. It’s sad in one way, but again, when you think of why you’re doing this, that sort of changes the whole thing. You can’t be sad for a man who lived the life he lived, even though he was the president of the United States.”
Brown, a 1984 Woodrow graduate, mentioned that DISD has changed the name of several schools named after Confederate leaders. So it can happen again, he said.
The changed name wouldn’t change the great memories Brown had at the school, he said.
“What happened inside those buildings will always be memories of ours,” Brown told the Morning News. “The feeling we took, and the feeling we had when we get together now — that will always be the same. We may always call the place Woodrow Wilson, [but] under the circumstances that the country is in now, I don’t know if DISD has any choice but to make something happen.”
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