Forget The Alamo? In Dallas, Maybe

Rod Dreher, The American Conservative, September 18, 2017

The Alamo

The Alamo

Dallas ISD [Independent School District — that is, the public school system — RD] is researching the histories of Ben Franklin, Sam Houston, Thomas Jefferson and 17 other historical figures, looking into whether their connections with slavery or the Confederacy should prompt reconsideration of their names on DISD campuses.

Last Thursday, DISD administration recommended changing the names of four schools honoring Confederate generals: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and William L. Cabell elementary schools. During that discussion, it was mentioned that there is a much broader list of at least 21 names that bear further investigation, if trustees were compelled to do so.

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So let me get this straight: in Dallas, Texas — Dallas, Texas! — the school board is thinking about expunging the names of Sam Houston, as well as Alamo heroes Jim Bowie and William Travis? That is even more shocking than Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin. If you’re not from Texas, or never lived there, it is impossible to overstate the reverence with which Texans hold men involved in the Texas Revolution. Except in 2017, I guess it actually is possible.

The demographics of the DISD student body tells the story:

Dallas Public Schoos Demographics

Credit Image: Rod Dreher / The American Conservative

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Imagine the impoverishment of the minds who believe the most significant thing to know about Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin, is that they were in some way tainted by slavery. Imagine the ignorance of school leaders who are going to investigate whether William Travis and Jim Bowie — both of whom died in 1836 at the Alamo — could have been involved with the Confederacy, which came into existence in 1861.

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It’s disgusting, this iconoclasm. In 2015, 40 percent of DISD’s schools received a failing grade from the state. To be fair, over 90 percent of DISD’s students come from low income homes, meaning that the school system has tremendous barriers to overcome in educating them. Still, the fact that the DISD trustees are even considering a cosmetic, p.c. gesture like this is a farce.

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When the Founding Fathers, as well as regional figures like Travis and Bowie, are held up to contempt, and “banished” because they do not fit contemporary standards — well, we are destroying the kinds of historical narratives that all nations need to cohere.

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I mean, look: Martin Luther King Jr. was unfaithful to his wife, but it takes an ideological pinhead to believe that this ugly fact diminishes King’s extraordinary accomplishments, takes away from what he gave to America, or in any way threatens his place in American history.

Very few great men and women are saints. I wish the knotheads pushing this iconoclasm would reflect seriously on where this is all headed, or likely to lead.

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