Rename Elm City Elementary for Frederick Douglass

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“I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress,” stated Frederick Douglass, freed slave and statesman of the 19th century.

It would be splendid if Elm City Elementary School were renamed for this paragon of virtue and fidelity to democratic virtues.

In this time of divisive politics reaching back to find a person who exemplifies the full potential of each human can only be inspirational. Everyone can get behind this name change and push the Wilson County Board of Education to make the change. What isn’t to like about choosing a black man who rose literally from slavery to become the U.S. government’s official representative in Haiti and whose oratory persuaded so many to take up the abolitionist cause?

Douglass’ desire to be the best he could be was exemplified by teaching himself to read after only rudimentary instruction from his master’s wife is truly inspirational. At a time when teaching slaves to read was frowned upon, Douglass took it as a challenge to do so and, because of this, became the very learned and literate person who grew in influence with the passing of the years.

“Keep no man from the ballot box or jury box or the cartridge box, because of his color,” proclaimed Douglass in a speech on Feb. 7, 1867.

Douglass was a very strong defender of the Second Amendment, making him an even more obvious choice for renaming a school. When several of the amendments in the Bill of Rights are under attack, a defender is sorely needed. If the board is looking for more candidates for new names, Harriet Tubman, another Second Amendment advocate, is an excellent option.

Hopefully the board will consider Ms. Alice Freeman’s petition to rename Elm City Elementary to Frederick Douglass Elementary School and infuse the student body with the desire to excel as the school’s new namesake did during his remarkable and storied life.

Julia Yancey