Councilman pushes to rename Cleveland school honoring one of America’s Founding Fathers


CLEVELAND (WJW) — A local Councilman wants to change the name of a Cleveland school. The school is named after one of America’s Founding Fathers, however, the councilman says he was also a slave owner.

Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell is pushing to change the name of Patrick Henry School in Cleveland, saying Henry was a slaveholder.

“Patrick Henry owned, 67 even 70 slaves.  How can African American children go to a school that bears the name of a slaveholder? That’s terrible,” said Conwell.

 Considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, Patrick Henry is famous for saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

Conwell, who represents Ward 9, says he introduced legislation back in 2008 to change the name of the school.

 However, he says he got pushback from the school board.

“I’m reintroducing legislation to change it to Stephanie Tubbs Jones Middle School so that children will be able to see a great person, who was once a judge, county prosecutor, and great Congressperson from the Grenville community,” said Conwell.

 The Cleveland Metropolitan School District released a statement Monday that reads,

“The councilman’s concern is a valid one. The Board of education had already begun the process of reexamining school names within the context of the current civil unrest. CMSD takes seriously this concern and others, as we strive to promote equity and true social justice and work to ensure our schools represent that commitment.”


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