Tacoma school wants to move away from controversial name

Feb 13, 2023, 11:46 AM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 7:06 am
McCarver Elementary School...
McCarver Elementary School wants a name change. (Courtesy Tacoma Public Schools)
(Courtesy Tacoma Public Schools)

An elementary school in Tacoma is looking to change its name due to concerns about the namesake’s history of preventing minorities from living in Oregon and California.

According to a news release and The Tacoma News Tribune, McCarver Elementary School will move away from the name of the Tacoma city founder because of concerns about his racist past.

According to The News Tribune:

McCarver was a businessman and promoter who made real estate investments across the U.S. McCarver, who was born in 1807, visited Eureka on Commencement Bay and realized the potential of the site for a city. He bought 163 acres and called the site Commencement City. McCarver later renamed it to Tacoma, the Salish name for Mount Rainier … Tacoma Public Schools received requests to consider renaming the school after community members expressed concerns about McCarver’s work in the Oregon and California Territorial Legislatures, where he proposed and supported laws to remove and exclude Black and mixed-race Americans from living in the territories.

In a Facebook post, Historic Tacoma also outlined its issues about McCarver. “Kentucky-born McCarver was an ‘unabashed’ racist whose hatred of people of color came from his upbringing in the South. It’s important to note that McCarver was not just a supporter of those legislative efforts; he was the leader of them,” the post said.

The school is located at 211 S. J St. and was built in 1924. The principal at McCarver will lead the search for a new name. A committee will be selected, and a report will be submitted to the superintendent. The committee will survey families, students, staff, alumni groups, and the community. It will also develop the rationale for a new name. The school board will then accept or reject the name.

Rantz: Sammamish HS training labels white teachers racist, warns against phrases

Two Tacoma schools were recently renamed because of racist concerns. Jason Lee Middle School was renamed Hilltop Heritage Middle School, and Woodrow Wilson High School was renamed Dr. Dolores Silas High School in 2021.

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Tacoma school wants to move away from controversial name