The names of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and other prominent figures, including California Senator Dianne Feinstein, will be removed from the names of San Francisco’s 44 public schools. That sparked a debate Wednesday about whether the famously liberal city has gone too far in its national attitude toward America’s racist past.
The San Francisco Board of Education’s resolution, passed by a 6-to-1 vote Tuesday night, affects one-third of the city’s schools and comes nearly three years after the body began considering the idea. The approved resolution calls for the removal of names that honored historical figures with a direct or broad connection to slavery, oppression, racism or human captivity.
In addition to George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, former presidents who owned slaves, the list includes naturalist John Muir, Spanish priest Junipero Serra, American Revolutionary patriot Paul Revere, and Francis Scott Key, composer of the Star Spangled Banner.
The name change of Dianne Feinstein Elementary School, named for a Democratic senator and former San Francisco mayor, has caused surprise. In recent years, liberals have railed against it after she embraced Republican Senator Lindsey Graham at the end of a heated confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett. She also replaced a defaced Confederate flag in front of City Hall as mayor in 1984.