Parents, students and teachers will vote on a new name for Berkeley’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, because several teachers complained Jefferson was a slave owner. The change has been debated for two years, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Contenders for the new name included Ralph Bunche, the African American diplomat at the United Nations who was the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize; farmworker organizer Cesar Chavez; and Florence McDonald, the late Berkeley city councilwoman, leftist political leader and mother of singer Country Joe McDonald.
Other names suggested were Sojourner Truth, a woman who fled slavery in New York in 1828 and became one of the best-known abolitionist orators; Ohlone — for the indigenous people who lived in Berkeley before European settlers arrived; Peace; Rose; and Sequoia.
In the 1970s, Berkeley’s Abraham Lincoln Elementary was renamed for Malcolm X.