Charleston, S.C. (WCBD) – Name changes could be on the way for some Charleston County School District facilities. That’s one item up for discussion during the district board’s meeting on Monday.
Board member Kevin Hollinshead is leading the discussion. He said the idea was originally brought to him by a community member, but after doing his own research he now wants the board to do their own research.
In a letter to the board, Hollinshead said Christopher Memminger was a secessionist. He notes that Memminger played a role in creating Charleston’s education system which he says, “prevented African-Americans the opportunity to partake in the American dream.”
While Hollinshead acknowledges Memminger was not a slave owner, he cites his ties to the confederacy.
The letter goes on to say, “In fact, he chaired the committee that drafted the Confederacy’s provisional constitution. As you know, Memminger Elementary is located across the street from a public housing complex and serves predominantly African-African students, which is contrary to Mr. Memminger’s beliefs.”
Hollinshead also noted that through his research he learned that several schools honoring confederate icons changed their names following the 2015 massacre at Mother Emanuel and addressed that the school is in close proximity to the church.
If a name change does happen, Hollinshead said a history marker could be made to recognize who Memminger was. The name to replace Memminger, Hollinshead said, is up to the people.
“I would prefer maybe an African American name because we do have enough African Americans who are known in Charleston County who did a lot of great things,” Hollinshead said. “But again, that is up to the community.”
In his letter, Hollinshead closes the argument calling on the board to consider the change saying, “As a Charleston County School Board member, I feel that it is imperative that we consider the renaming of Memminger of Elementary. As a board, I feel that it is our moral duty to continue to advocate for all students we serve in Charleston County.”
The Charleston County School Board will meet on Monday at 4 p.m.