Many graduates of Camden's Woodrow Wilson High School are stunned by the fact their alma mater will soon be going by a different name.
District officials opted for change due to the former president's racial legacy.
“Class of 65 it will always be Woodrow Wilson to me,” says George Murray, who responded to a question from DailyVoice on a Facebook group made up of graduates from the school.
“I graduated in '64. I will always say I graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School (no matter what the new name becomes) because that IS the name of the school that I graduated from,” says Dan Cirucci.
"The change must happen!" Writes Kevin Waters, "He was anti-African American. He had the power to not do the things he did. But he did! East Camden High."
The Camden County School District decided to change the name last year after a major grassroots effort (that included a Change.org petition) brought new light to the fact that former President Wilson resegregated the federal government and even defended the Ku Klux Klan.
“The white men of the South were aroused by the mere instinct of self-preservation… Until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan,” Wilson is quoted as saying in 1915 silent film: The Birth of A Nation.
The Camden County School district has recently reformed a 10 person renaming committee for Woodrow Wilson High School after delaying plans to rename the school due to COVID-19. To join the committee you must first fill out a questionnaire that will eventually be posted online.
School officials say it's too early to speculate on what the new name of the school will be, though some suggestions have been to name it after former President Barack Obama or the late civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
Originally built in 1930 as a junior high school, Woodrow Wilson High School was converted in 1933 into the school it is today.
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