LOS ANGELES (CBS / AP) — The Los Angeles school board has renamed David Starr Jordan High School to simply Jordan High School to remove its association with its namesake, a former Stanford University professor and promoter of eugenics, but retain an identity defined by students who include famous athletes and jazz musicians.
The vote this week followed a push by school and community leaders who told the board the school’s legacy has been formed by the success of its alumni, the Los Angeles Times reported.READ MORE: Oakland Ties 2020 Homicide Total in First 9 Months of 2021
David Starr Jordan was the founding president of Stanford University and an advocate of the racist eugenics movement. Stanford’s president and trustees this week approved removal of his name from campus spaces, among other measures.
The high school opened in LA’s Watts area in 1923 and by the 1940s its student body was largely Black. It is now 82% Latino and 17% Black.
Its alumni included Olympians Hayes Sanders, Kevin Young and Florence Griffith Joyner, musicians Charles Mingus Jr., Chico Hamilton and Buddy Collette, and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Glenn Seaborg.
“Generations of community members have proudly graced our halls,” said Principal Lucía Cerda, who told the Board of Education that the name Jordan meant something to those who wanted to support “the Jordan they know and love.”
Alumni had discussed a name change for several years.
But until recently, “nobody ever really mentioned David Starr. It was always just Jordan High School,” said Michael Cummings, a 1981 graduate who is now pastor of We Care Outreach Ministry. He thought the name should “stay Jordan High for the memories, for the good times and people who went there for the education.”READ MORE: Advocates for Immigrant Rights March From Santa Rosa to Healdsburg
Last summer, the school held a virtual town hall to take submissions for a new name and a committee agreed on five options that were voted on by students, staff and alumni.
The name Jordan High School received 58% of the 590 votes. Michelle Obama High School was second with 13%.
Jordan, a naturalist and ichthyologist, was president of Stanford from 1891 to 1913 and died in 1931.
This week, Stanford announced Jordan’s name would be removed from Jordan Hall, which is home to the school’s psychology department, along with the Jordan Quad and Jordan Modulars, along with Jordan Way near the Stanford Medical Center.
University president Marc Tessier-Levigne and the school’s board of trustees approved the changes following a review of Jordan’s legacy that was summed up in a report completed last month, which detailed his writings and promotion of eugenics.
“David Starr Jordan made monumental contributions to the founding and development of Stanford, which are rightly celebrated,” Tessier-Lavigne said. “But, as the committee reported, Jordan was an equally powerful and vigorous driving force for beliefs and actions that are antithetical to the values of our campus community, and he leveraged his position as president to advance them.”MORE NEWS: Pelosi Expects House to Pass Infrastructure Bill This Week
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