San Francisco committee wants to remove Abraham Lincoln's name from high school
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A San Francisco committee is recommending the removal of former President Abraham Lincoln's name from a high school due to his past treatment of Native Americans.
Lincoln High School was one of many that the San Francisco School Names Advisory Committee found to have a problematic title, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Others included George Washington High School, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Paul Revere K-8.
A variety of criteria could remove historical figures from the list, including being slave owners, known racists or white supremacists, anyone directly involved in colonization and people connected to human rights or environmental abuses.
“The discussion for Lincoln centered around his treatment of First Nation peoples because that was offered first,” committee chairman Jeremiah Jeffries told the Chronicle in an article published Monday. “Once he met criteria in that way, we did not belabor the point.”
Lincoln has been touted by many on the left and right, including former President Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who mentioned him during a debate in October.
Lincoln famously led the Union's defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in southern states.
But for Jeffries, “[t]he history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery."
He told the Chronicle that “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”
Lincoln has come under fire for constructing the transcontinental railroad, which affected indigenous lands. He also declined to commute the sentences of 39 Native Americans who were sentenced to hanging. Thirty-eight were ultimately hanged in a mass execution after one was granted a last-minute reprieve.
The renaming came amid a broader debate about memorials that surfaced after high-profile encounters between Black Americans and police officers this year. Earlier this summer, protesters toppled a statue in San Francisco of Ulysses S. Grant, who served as the Union's general in the Civil War.
Not even liberal Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has been spared. The committee sought to remove her name from an elementary school with Jeffries alluding to allegations that she flew a Confederate flag at City Hall when she was mayor.
“On a local level Dianne Feinstein chose to fly a flag that is the iconography of domestic terrorism, racism, white avarice and inhumanity towards Black and Indigenous people at the City Hall,” he reportedly said. “She is one of the few living examples on our list, so she still has time to dedicate the rest of her life to the upliftment of Black, First Nations and other people of color. She hasn’t thus far."
The decision to remove Lincoln received backlash online.
"Abraham Lincoln…George Washington…even Diane friggin’ Feinstein: NONE are woke enough for the America-hating radical Left," tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "This will never stop, until Americans say 'ENOUGH!!' and call it out for the ignorant nonsense that it is."
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