I made up Early Gulch High School, where much of the novel z2 takes place. I did not make up confederate officer Jubal Early, for whom the school is named. He is a real person who founded the Lost Cause movement after the civil war. This is a group that to this day glorifies the Old South and down plays slavery as a benign institution. I made up the outrage of teachers and students once they discovered that their school was named after such a person, but I like to think that real people would respond with the same indignation.
A friend recently sent me one of those petitions anyone can start at change.org. This one, submitted by Omotayo Richmond of Jacksonville, Florida says “Jacksonville is home to Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, named in honor of a Confederate general who infamously slaughtered Black Union soldiers who’d already surrendered and who was a founding member of the original Ku Klux Klan. The school got its name in 1959, when white civic leaders wanted to protest a court decision that called for integrating public schools.”
Sadly, five years ago the local school board actually voted to keep this school’s name. Have things changed for better in those five years? I sure HOPE so.
View Omotayo’s petition and consider signing it here. I just did.