To the Editor:
Franklin High School should change its name back to the original Pioneers.
Founded in 1910 as the Pioneers, Franklin High changed it to Rebels at the height of the Jim Crow era in 1937. To this day, our country has pockets of people who celebrate the ideals of the Confederacy by espousing white supremacy and hate for minorities, specifically black Americans.
References to Dixie, Confederates, or Rebels in the South is directly linked to the atrocities committed against black Americans by racist, bigoted and hateful white Americans.
In an attempt to be more inclusive, Franklin’s city leaders — inspired and led by a group of black and white pastors — are now telling a more complete version of our city’s history by erecting five new monuments on the square this past Thursday (Oct 17). These monuments detail some of the atrocities of our past and the unique experiences of black Americans in the city of Franklin.
Although long overdue, erecting these monuments is a step in the right direction toward reconciliation. And while we have the momentum in the right direction, it is time to admit the fault of changing Franklin High to the Rebels and reclaim the name Pioneers.
Instead of exploring land, Franklin High and the city of Franklin will be pioneers of a new trajectory of inclusion and justice for all.