Should Enloe High School be renamed amid questions about whether it was named for a segregationist?
As noted in today's article, Wake County school board chairman Ron Marigotta and school board member John Tedesco said they want to review Enloe's name. They're citing the history lesson that Duke University historian Tim Tyson gave about William G. Enloe's role in Raleigh's integration while he was mayor from 1957 to 1963.
“I wouldn’t want to name a school after a segregationist,” Margiotta said. “We could certainly honor an African American.”
Enloe has borne that name since it opened in 1962.
Margiotta said they may want to rename Enloe after Clarence Lightner, the first and only African American mayor of Raleigh. He said another possibility could be Vernon Malone, the first chairman of the merged school board.
Tyson questioned whether the board majority is "playing politics" by bringing up the Enloe name issue.
Tyson said he's of mixed minds when it comes to changing the names of schools. After all, he didn't actually ask the school board to change Enloe's name. He said it would be great if the board was to name a new school after civil rights pioneer Ella Baker, whom he called the most important North Carolinian of the 20th Century..
One question about Enloe is the context by which he should be viewed.
For instance, Tyson has criticized Enloe for a 1960 New York Times article about sit-ins in which the mayor said it was “regrettable that some of our young Negro students would risk endangering these relations by seeking to change a long-standing custom in a manner that is all but destined to fail.”
But Jim Leloudis, a UNC-Chapel Hill professors, said Enloe should be called a "moderate" on the issue of integration.
"He had to be pushed, no question about that," Leloudis said. "The difference is when pushed he moved in the right direction. When push came to shove, he didn't turn fire hoses on like in Birmingham."
If the board does rename Enloe, it first will have to change the policy against naming schools after people. Older schools such as Enloe were grandfathered.
Tedesco said he'd like the school name policy to be discussed at Thursday's school board policy committee meeting.
Click here to vote in a N&O poll on renaming Enloe.