DISD and Booker T. Washington High School

Listening to KNON this morning, a caller talked about a DISD special called meeting.

I usually stay out of DISD affairs but the caller asked about this week's DISD meeting and I had to start looking into it.

Agenda item number 8 (images below) is a "Adoption of Clarification of Action Taken on August 25, 2005, regarding board file No. 46372 Consideration of Proposed Names for New and Existing Facilities, regarding Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts."

The agenda item appears to say that it is clarifying named components. But it seems a little confusing because the named component is the Hamon Arts Magnet.

I have nothing against Ms. Nancy Hamon, she is a great philanthropist and asset to our city. I'm not against Ms. Hamon having part of the school named after her if this is the case, as long as Booker T Washington is on the front. This is about keeping the history intact for future children of the DISD.

When I asked School Board Trustee Ron Price about this issue during the same radio program, he said that "it was an error and should have said Hamon Activity Center." He said that the name "Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts" will remain in tact and on the front of the school (Booker T is in Price's district).

I will take him at his word, but I hope many of us will follow this issue closely. There have been news reports that Ms. Hamon's part of the school will be the newly-built portion. KERA also refers to it as the "Nancy Hamon Wing" of Booker T Washington High School. This was likely a poorly-managed process by DISD, but I wanted people to have all of the information.

Are there bigger issues than name changes? Certainly. But I ask you...how would feel if the Woodrow HS name was changed? What about Kimball or Bryan Adams or Thomas Jefferson? Many in my family went to Booker T. Washington because of school segregation.

The school board meeting is scheduled for Thursday July 24, 2008 at 4PM. The location is the Board Room, 3700 Ross Ave., Dallas, TX, 75204.

link to entire agenda (agenda item 8 is on pages 91-94).

Images of pages 91- 94 (click to enlarge)

Page 91

Page 92

Page 93

Page 94

Name Changes

I agree with Michael. Dallas keeps so little of its history.

Mrs Hamon is a remarkable and generous woman, so I hope that any discussion about the Booker T thing leaves her personally out of it.

Kind of like the Ross Ave proposed name change. Leave it be. Again, we have little of our original history left in this town.

Name Change Reply

True. Dallas does do little to keep its history. Nobody wants to mention that Booker T Washington was the first black school in Dallas before it became a magnet school. And there are still folks bitter about that.

If they did try to change the name of other schools like Kimball, Carter, Maceo or a few others. I doubt people would get upset as most of the city have no idea who those folks are.

Name Importance Lost

Well, Booker T was essentially "saved" because they made it into a magnet, or it would have been sold and torn down during the construction boom downtown in the 1980's.

The truth of segregation--and the success and hard work by its teachers and students at Booker T-- need to be recognized and remembered. To me, no more honorable legacy could be what it is now: an integrated high level achieving school. That was the goal of civil rights, yes?

A. Maceo Smith was a civil rights activist in Dallas. He has a small federal building named for him downtown. He should be a great role model for our young black men in Dallas, but we just know that school as "Maceo," with no idea of who the MAN was:


That is true of most schools in Dallas. Go to F D Roosevelt HS in Dallas, and notice there is no portrait for the man the school was named for. The DISD should take an interest in explaining who the schools represent, but it isn't a part of the Road to Broad, now is it?

Spruce Lawsuit

What is going on? How will this effect Spruce students and faculty? Any one know?

[Ed Note: Only time will tell. But it likely has a low probability of success.]