Civil Rights Icon Might Exchange Woodrow Wilson At Framingham Faculty

FRAMINGHAM, MA – The Framingham School Committee will rename Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in May after outcry over the 28th President’s racist views, and the new name has been reduced to two options.

The renaming process began in September when the school committee decided to proceed with the name change. Since then officials have held meetings and discussions with students and community members to find a suitable replacement.

For the past several months, Framingham students have worked researching and suggesting possible new names. In April, students from across the district voted on their two favorites under the five final names.

The two best options: Harmony Grove and Ruby Bridges.

Harmony Grove was a park in Framingham that is now Farm Pond Park. Several rallies against slavery and in favor of women’s suffrage took place in Harmony Grove in the 19th century.

Bridges, who is still alive today, became a civil rights activist in 1960 when she desegregated the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana. Once at school, only one teacher – who was from Boston – agreed to teach it.

The other top three decisions were Peter Salem, a Framingham slave who was later freed and fought in the War of Independence; the slavery abolitionist Sojourner Truth; and Emiliano Mundrucu, a Brazilian who was one of the first blacks to question Jim Crow’s laws.

The school got its name, according to school officials, in the 1920s when Wilson was popular for his intervention in World War I and persecuting the League of Nations. But he supported segregation in the federal government and wrote in support of the Ku Klux Klan and denied black citizens the right to vote.

Wilson also had an infamous confrontation with Boston civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter. In 1914, Trotter and a group of activists tried to meet with Wilson at the White House about segregation, but Wilson responded by kicking them out.

The Framingham School Committee will hold a public hearing on the new name elections on May 5th, and the committee is expected to vote on May 19th.

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