In Eight States, Public Schools Are Named for Segregationists

By: Andrew Ujifusa,  Portside
January 30, 2019

About a two-hour drive south of Atlanta, in the city of Warner Robins, there's an elementary school named for Richard B. Russell, Georgia's longtime and powerful U.S. senator who died in 1971.

In a 1936 re-election campaign for the Senate, Russell, a Democrat, called America "a white man's country," and stressed his willingness to make sacrifices to "preserve and insure white supremacy." Two decades later, he made his opposition to the racial desegregation of schools very public. And in 1964, he criticized the Civil Rights Act for overturning the separate-but-equal model in the South that aimed to solve "the problem of two races living side by side without eventual amalgamation and mongrelization of both."

As of two years ago, according to the most recent federal data, four out of 10 students at the school memorializing him were black.

..."You have this white resistance to law," Rooks said. "It's arguable that a kid sitting in a Strom Thurmond school would have no idea who he is. All you know is that the school is named after someone that matters."

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Professor Noliwe Rooks